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
What properties of liberal democracy are most and least lacking in Korean democracy today? The mean and two summary percentage ratings reported in Table 5 can be compared to address this question. Of the five mean ratings reported in the table, political freedom, which scored 4.0, is the only property of liberal democracy that scored higher than the midpoint on a 7-point scale employed to measure the overall level of each property. Of the four properties with average ratings below the midpoint, responsiveness ranks best with 3.8. This property is followed by accountability (3.7), equality (3.5), and the rule of law (3.3). Political freedom and responsiveness are least lacking, while the rule of law and political equality are most lacking.
How deficient do the Korean people think their current democratic system is as a liberal democracy? To address this question, we constructed a 6- point index measuring the overall quality of liberal democracy. For each respondent to the EAB survey, we first counted the number of properties of liberal democracy that the person reported experiencing in the current system. We then calculated the percentages of those who perceived from zero to all five properties of liberal democracy. Finally we calculated the average of properties experienced. Figure 1 reports the percentage of responses in each of the six index values, as well as the overall mean score of properties experienced.
The mean score reported in Figure 1 is 1.5. This rating indicates that the Korean people as a whole perceive their current regime as embodying less than two of the five essential properties of liberal democracy surveyed. In the eyes of