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Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies. Vol. 5, No. 2. 2005.
2005 Academy of East Asian Studies. pp. 183-217
Appraising the Quality of Democracy in South Korea:
From the Perspectives of Ordinary Citizens and their Daily Experiences
by Doh Chull Shin, University of Missouri-Columbia &
Chong Min Park, Korea University
Page 186

and satisfy some standard procedures.

For example, Arend Lijphart is a leading scholar studying the quality of democracy. In his Patterns of Democracy (1999), he compared the quality of democracy in 36 countries and concluded that consensus democracy tends to be the “kinder and gentler”form of democracy.5 In assessing and comparing the quality of these democracies, he considered a large number of democratic political values and principles, including representation, equality, participation, proximity, satisfaction, accountability, and majority rule.6 In his Elections as Instruments of Democracy (2000), Bingham Powell Jr., another leading scholar, considered only three standards-accountability, representation, and responsiveness- when comparing 20 majoritarian and proportional democracies.7 David Altman and Anival Perez-Linan (2002) and Miguel Centellas (2000) also considered three standards-participation, competition, and civil liberty-to assess the quality of democracy in Latin American countries. In comparing regional governments in Italy, Robert Putnam (1993) considered two criteria, policy responsiveness and effectiveness. In assessing the relative merit of majoritarian and consensus political systems, Christopher Anderson and Christine Guillory (1997) weighed only one criterion, i.e., citizen satisfaction with their democracy. Obviously, there is more disagreement than consensus concerning what are the proper standards for assessing the quality of democracy.

Besides individual scholars, a number of national and international institutions have also made serious efforts to assess the quality of democracy. The International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) in Stockholm has launched a multinational project assessing the democratic political practices of new democracies.8 Two basic principles of representative democracy underlie its assessment framework. They are popular control and political equality. From these principles, the IDEA derived seven standards:
participation, authorization, representation, accountability, transparency, responsiveness, and solidarity. These standards were used to measure the democratic strength of particular countries. To assess and compare progress toward liberal democracy on a global scale, Freedom House in New York monitors
changes in the levels of political rights, civil liberties, and press freedom.9 For similar assessments and comparisons, Gallup International in London has initiated . . . . /continued


5. Lijphart, 1999: 275.
6. cf. Forestiere et al., 2002.
7. Powell, 2000; see also Powell Jr., 1982: chap. 9 for use of three other standards: liberty,
competition, and responsiveness.
8. Beetham et al., 2001.
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