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Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies. Vol. 5, No. 2. 2005.
© 2005 Academy of East Asian Studies. pp. 183-217
Page 183
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Appraising the Quality of Democracy in South Korea:

From the Perspectives of Ordinary Citizens and their Daily Experiences.

Doh Chull Shin
University of Missouri-Columbia
Chong Min Park
Korea University

In recent years, an increasing number of individual scholars and research institutions have made serious efforts to discern the distinct qualities of democracy and distinguish high-quality democracies from low-quality ones. Their research endeavors to date have all focused on the extent to which political regimes actually embody generic values of democracy. This study of Korean democracy offers and tests three sets of new ideas for a more systematic assessment of the quality of democracy from the perspective of ordinary citizens. The first set of these ideas focuses on the general quality of a regime’s performance as a democracy. The second set of ideas deals with how well a regime performs as an electoral democracy. The third, final set of ideas focuses on the question of how well a democratic regime performs as a liberal democracy. We have tested these three sets of new ideas with the first wave of the East Asia Barometer survey conducted in Korea during the month of February 2003.

Keywords : Citizen Demand for Democracy, Democratic Qualitics, Electoral Democracy, Liberal Democracy, Regime Performance

IDEA The International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance
EAB East Asia Barometer

“The ability and the incentive to mobilize, to make oneself heard, and to vote are the mediators through which the quality of a country’s democracy affects the quality of its development.”

Jagdish Bhagwati (1995)

“Indeed, consensus democracy ? on the executive-parties dimension ? makes a big difference with regard to all of the indicators of democratic quality and with regard to all of the kinder and gentler qualities.”

Arend Lijphart (1999)
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