New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan

New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, November 21


New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan takes a creative and comparative view of the new challenges and dynamics confronting these maturing democracies.

Numerous works deal with political change in the two societies individually, but few adopt a comparative approach—and most focus mainly on the emergence of democracy or the politics of the democratization processes. This book, utilizing a broad, interdisciplinary approach, pays careful attention to post-democratization phenomena and the key issues that arise in maturing democracies.

What emerges is a picture of two evolving democracies, now secure, but still imperfect and at times disappointing to their citizens—a common feature and challenge of democratic maturation. The book demonstrates that it will fall to the elected political leaders of these two countries to rise above narrow and immediate party interests to mobilize consensus and craft policies that will guide the structural adaptation and reinvigoration of the society and economy in an era that clearly presents for both countries not only steep challenges but also new opportunities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804789189
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Publication date: 01/29/2014
Series: Studies of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
Pages: 383
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Larry Diamond is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford. He is also Director of Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.
Gi-Wook Shin is Director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, the Tong Yang, Korea Foundation, and Korea Stanford Alumni Chair of Korean Studies, and Professor of Sociology at Stanford.

Read an Excerpt

New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan

By Larry Diamond, Gi-Wook Shin

Stanford University Press

Copyright © 2014 Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8047-8743-7


Trends in Attitudes Toward Democracy in Korea and Taiwan

Chong-Min Park and Yun-han Chu


In East Asia, new democracies began to emerge immediately after the people's power revolution in the Philippines overthrew the long-standing dictatorship in 1986. First, South Korea (Korea hereafter) embarked on democratic transition by adopting a democratic constitution and holding a free and open election for president in 1987. Then Taiwan started its democratic transition by lifting martial law in 1987 and then successively holding its first parliamentary election in 1992 and its first popular election for president in 1996. In 1990, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia made a quick transition to democracy by abolishing its one-party Communist rule and holding its first multiparty parliamentary election in more than sixty years. With the emergence of these three new democracies, Japan was no longer the only democracy in East Asia.

Korea and Taiwan are widely recognized as the two most successful third-wave democracies in Asia. For nearly two decades, these young democracies have regularly held free and competitive elections at all levels of government. Both nationally and locally, citizens choose the heads of government and the members of the parliament and councils through periodic electoral contests. More important, unlike many of their peers in the region, they have peacefully undergone two power rotations, passing "the two-turnover test" for democratic consolidation. There is little doubt that the political regimes in Korea and Taiwan fully meet the minimum requirements of democracy, such as free and fair elections, universal adult suffrage, and multiparty competition.

Various international assessments of democracy confirm the two Asian tigers' steady institutional progress toward liberal democracy. The Polity IV Project evaluates regime authority characteristics on a 21-point scale ranging from -10 (hereditary monarchy) to +10 (consolidated democracy). In each of the first ten years after the transition, Korea received a Polity score of +6. In each of twelve years from 1998 to 2010, it received a score of +8, two notches below the maximum score. Taiwan performs better in democratizing the authority structure. Before 1992, it received a score of -1; thereafter it was accorded a score of +7 or higher. Since 2005, Taiwan's Polity score has been raised to the maximum, +10. The political regimes in both countries are rated either consolidated or nearly consolidated democracies.

The political systems in both Korea and Taiwan are judged as having progressed beyond electoral democracy. Freedom House assesses the condition of political rights and civil liberties on a 7-point scale with 1 (most free) to 7 (least free). Korea received an average combined score of 2.5 in each of the first five years after the transition (1988–1992); a score of 2.0 in each of the next eleven years (1993–2003); and a score of 1.5 in every year since 2004. Taiwan received an average combined score of 3.0 between 1992 and 1996. It received a score of 2.0 between 1996 and 2000, and after 2001 its score was upgraded to 1.5, the same as that in Korea. These young democracies now rank with long-lasting advanced democracies in the West.

The World Bank reports the quality of state governance in six dimensions: voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law, and control of corruption. The values of these Worldwide Governance Indicators range from -2.5 to +2.5. In every year since 1996, Korea received positive ratings in all six dimensions. Taiwan also has received positive ratings in all the dimensions since 1996. In 2011, Korea received higher percentile ranking on every dimension except for political stability and absence of violence, on which it was a middling performer. In contrast, Taiwan was a high performer on every dimension. Although the indicators lack comparability over time, the pattern of the ratings suggests that political institutions and practices in both countries have made progress toward high-quality democratic governance.

Do the people's views of democracy in Korea and Taiwan reflect such expert-based assessments of democracy? How do ordinary Koreans and Taiwanese view democracy as an idea? Do they believe in the legitimacy of democracy? How supportive are they of liberal norms and democratic institutions? Meanwhile, how do they evaluate the performance of their regimein-practice? How do they perceive the democratic quality of their prevailing system of government? How much confidence do they have in existing political institutions? Has their support for democracy and evaluation of regime performance changed? If so, does the change reflect the influence of generational replacement or the effects of events that occurred during the period surveyed? By addressing these and other related questions, we seek to provide a comprehensive account of the trends in popular attitudes toward democracy in these most successful third-wave democracies in Asia.

For this purpose, we rely on three public opinion survey series—the Korea Democracy Barometer (hereafter KDB), the Asian Barometer Survey (hereafter ABS), and the Taiwan Election and Democracy Survey (hereafter TEDS). For the Korean case, we use five surveys (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2001) of the KDB series and three surveys (2003, 2006, and 2011) of the ABS series. For the Taiwanese case, we employ three surveys (2001, 2005, and 2010) from the ABS series and one survey (1998) from the TEDS series. It should be noted that the earliest survey data analyzed here were collected several years after the democratic transition, and the earliest and the latest survey data were more than ten years apart. When comparing the two countries, only equivalent items from the different survey series were used so as to achieve the highest level of comparability.

Structures of Citizen Views of Democracy

We take David Easton's theory of political support as a starting point for mapping citizen views of democracy. Easton defines political support as an attitude by which a person orients himself to a political system positively or negatively. He distinguishes between three levels of a political system: the political community, the regime, and the authorities. The political community refers to "a group of persons bound together by a political division of labor." The regime refers to the authority structure as well as its legitimating values and operating norms. The authorities refer to the present incumbents in authority roles. Since we are concerned with attitudes toward democracy as a political regime, the focus is on types of political support at the regime level.

According to Easton, the regime has three components: values and principles, norms and rules, and the structure of authority. Values and principles "serve as broad limits with regard to what can be taken for granted in the guidance of day-to-day policy." Norms and rules refer to "procedures that are expected and acceptable in the processing and implementation of demands." The structure of authority refers to "formal and informal patterns in which power is distributed and organized with regard to the authoritative making and implementing of decisions." Hence, citizen views of democracy involve attitudes toward the values of democracy, its operating norms, and its institutional arrangements.

Much of empirical research on support for democracy builds upon this conceptual distinction between different aspects of the regime. For instance, Pippa Norris distinguishes between three objects of regime support: principles, performance, and institutions. Specifically, support for regime principles concerns attitudes toward the core values of a political system; support for regime performance concerns attitudes toward the functioning of a political system in practice; and support for regime institutions concerns attitudes toward actual institutions of government, such as parliament, courts, the police, political parties, and the military. Similarly, Russell Dalton distinguishes between three targets of regime support: principles, norms and procedures, and institutions. Furthermore, he differentiates between two modes of orientation: affective and evaluative. The former represents "adherence to a set of values" and the latter reflects "judgments about political phenomena."

Despite such conceptual clarifications and theoretical distinctions, researchers have difficulties in distinguishing empirically between different types of regime support. It is admitted that empirical measurement lags far behind the multidimensional nature of regime support. Nonetheless, the multidimensional conceptualization of regime support is helpful in mapping citizen views of democracy and unraveling their complexity. By specifying the targets of regime support, we should be better able to understand the implications of changes in attitudes toward democracy.

Following prior theory and research, we distinguish between three aspects of citizen views of democracy: values, norms and rules, and institutions. Moreover, we differentiate between two modes of orientation: affective orientations to democracy as an idea, and evaluative orientations to a democracy-in-practice. The former pertains to idealist views of democracy, whereas the latter pertains to realist views of democracy.

Of affective orientations to democracy as an idea, the first aspect focuses on the values of democracy. Despite little consensus on the values of democracy, freedom and equality are widely viewed as its foundational values. In public opinion surveys, however, this aspect of orientation is often measured by agreement that democracy is the best form of government or the most preferred political system. In this study we use different expectations of democracy to ascertain attitudes toward the values of democracy. In addition, we employ four more indicators: preference for democracy, desire for democracy, perceived suitability of democracy, and perceived efficacy of democracy. The second aspect pertains to the operating norms and rules of democracy. In this study we select three indicators: support for checks and balances, the rule of law, and social pluralism—key liberal norms associated with the idea of limited government. The third aspect concerns democratic institutions. In this study we indirectly ascertain support for them by tapping attitudes toward major forms of authoritarian rule: strongman rule instead of elections and parliament, one-party rule instead of multiparty competition, and military rule.

Of evaluative orientations to a democracy-in-practice, the first aspect pertains to the perceived supply of democracy. In public opinion surveys, satisfaction with democracy is often used to measure evaluation of general democratic performance. Although its meaning is contested, we use this standard measure as well. In addition, we employ two more indicators to ascertain the perceived democratic level of the ongoing political order. The second aspect concerns the democratic quality of political institutions and practices. In this study we focus on five dimensions of democratic governance: control of corruption, electoral competition, both vertical and horizontal accountability, and freedom. The third aspect deals with performance of actual political institutions. In this study we select two indicators: trust in both parliament and political parties—key institutions of representative democracy.

Values of Democracy

The survey series used here included no relevant question directly measuring support for the values of democracy such as liberty and equality. Fortunately, however, the 2006 ABS included a single question with which we ascertained the values of democracy our respondents emphasized. It asked: "People often differ in their views on the characteristic that is essential to democracy. Which one would you choose as the most essential to a democracy?" Four response categories were provided: opportunity to change the government through elections, freedom to criticize those in power, a small income gap between rich and poor, and basic necessities like food, clothes, and shelter for everyone. The first two options reflect political values of democracy whereas the last two reflect socioeconomic values.

The pattern of responses in both countries shows a strong contrast. As presented in Figure 1.1, in Korea more than one-third chose social justice by replying "a small income gap between rich and poor," and a similar percentage chose popular control by replying "opportunity to change the government through elections." Less than one-fifth selected political freedom by answering "freedom to criticize those in power"; and only one-tenth selected basic welfare by answering "basic necessities like food, clothes and shelter for everyone." In Taiwan, by contrast, almost a half chose basic welfare; more than a quarter chose popular control; one-fifth chose social justice; and only a few chose political freedom.

Notable is that in Taiwan nearly a two-thirds majority conceived the essential characteristics of democracy in terms of socioeconomic values, whereas in Korea there was no single dominant value of democracy; political values and socioeconomic values competed for popular support. Another notable finding is that political freedom was least frequently chosen in Taiwan, while less frequently chosen than social justice or popular control in Korea. This finding suggests that citizens in these new East Asian democracies were less supportive of liberal democracy than either social or electoral democracy. That the values of democracy appeared to be more contested or even polarized in Korea than in Taiwan suggests that a potential conflict resulting from disagreement over regime values would be greater in the former than in the latter. This finding also suggests that political democratization itself did not necessarily encourage satisfaction with democracy. The expansion of political and civil rights may not matter much to those who hold the welfare-state conception of democracy. For them, social and welfare policy outcomes would be more likely to encourage approval of a democracy-in-practice. Perhaps this is why citizen evaluations of democratic performance in these countries often differed from expert-based assessments, as will be discussed later.

Support for Democracy

To ascertain support for democracy as an idea, we use four indicators: preference for democracy, desire for democracy, perceived suitability of democracy, and perceived efficacy of democracy. The former two tap largely affective orientations, whereas the latter two tap cognitive evaluations. By targeting democracy as an undifferentiated whole, these indicators reflect the most general and diffuse support for democracy.


The KDB series and the ABS series included a widely used question that asked respondents to choose among three statements: "Democracy is always preferable to any other kind of government," "Under some circumstances, an authoritarian government can be preferable to a democratic one," and "For people like me, it does not matter whether we have a democratic or a non-democratic regime." The first option indicates unconditional acceptance of democracy. The second option reflects conditional rejection of democracy or conditional acceptance of authoritarian rule. The last option manifests apathy or indifference to democracy.

As shown in Figure 1.2, unconditional acceptance of democracy in Korea exhibited a considerable fluctuation during the period surveyed: Those who replied that democracy is always preferable to any other kind of government peaked at 68 percent in 1997. Then it steadily fell from 65 percent of the electorate in 1996 to 55 percent in 1998, 45 percent in 2001, and 43 percent in 2006, until it sharply rose to 66 percent in 2011. A steady decline for a decade was followed by a recent dramatic reversal, although whether the rise marks a turnaround remains to be seen. It is noteworthy that the largest drop (13 percent) in unconditional acceptance of democracy occurred in the wake of the economic crisis in 1997, indicating that a belief in the legitimacy of democracy is closely related to economic performance. However, the largest increase (23 percent) occurred after the replacement of an unpopular incumbent through free and fair elections in 2007, suggesting that the experience of electoral accountability contributed to the growth of democratic legitimacy. It is intriguing that unconditional preference for democracy steadily declined under two left-leaning governments (the Kim Dae-jung government from 1998 to 2003 and the Roh Moo-hyun government from 2003 to 2008), suggesting that democratically elected governments would not necessarily guarantee the growth of democratic legitimacy. Notable is that conditional acceptance of authoritarian rule had gradually grown until the most recent survey: Those who replied that an authoritarian government can be preferable under certain circumstances increased 17 percent in 1996 to 31 percent in 1998, 37 percent in 2001, and 36 percent in 2006, and then declined to 20 percent in 2011. More than two decades after the democratic transition, at least one in five Koreans still felt nostalgia for authoritarian rule.


Excerpted from New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan by Larry Diamond, Gi-Wook Shin. Copyright © 2014 Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. Excerpted by permission of Stanford University Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Figures and Tables ix

Acknowledgments xv

Acronyms xvii

Contributors xix

Introduction - Korea and Taiwan: New Challenges for Maturing Democracies Larry Diamond Gi-Wook Shin 1

Part 1 Political Culture

Chapter 1 Trends in Attitudes Toward Democracy in Korea and Taiwan Chong-Min Park Yun-han Chu 27

Part 2 Political Parties and Identity Politics

Chapter 2 The Party System in Korea and Identity Politics Jiyoon Kim 71

Chapter 3 Political Parties and Identity Politics in Taiwan Shelley Rigger 106

Part 3 New Media and the Transformation of Politics

Chapter 4 Digital Media and the Transformation of Politics in Korea Minjeong Kim Han Woo Park 135

Chapter 5 Digital Media and the Transformation of Politics in Taiwan Chen-Dong Tso 160

Part 4 Economic Adaptation to the Global Economy

Chapter 6 Global Ascendance, Domestic Fracture: Korea's Economic Transformation Since 1997 Yoonkyung Lee 191

Chapter 7 Challenges for the Maturing Taiwan Economy Wan-wen Chu 216

Part 5 Social Welfare Policy

Chapter 8 Democratization and Health Care: The Case of Korea in Financing and Equity Sangho Moon 253

Chapter 9 The Aging Society and Social Policy in Taiwan Wan-I Lin 284

Part 6 Nationalism, Regionalism, and Global Trends

Chapter 10 Influencing South Korea's Democracy: China, North Korea, and Defectors Katharine H. S. Moon 319

Chapter 11 China's Rise and Other Global Trends: Implications for Taiwan Democracy Richard Bush 340

Index 365

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews