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This study addresses the question of why so many of the world's legislators are lawyers or law graduates. Drawing from previous studies on lawyer-legislators and electoral systems, it develops the argument that ‘first-pass-the-post’ single-member district electoral systems presume a principal-agent logic of representation and are therefore conducive to political parties selecting representatives with either occupational experience or educational training in the field of law. By contrast, proportional representation (PR) elections presume a microcosm model of representation incentivizing parties to select candidates representing diverse demographic and occupational backgrounds. This conjecture is tested by examining legislator backgrounds in three large parliaments with mixed electoral systems: Germany, Japan, and South Korea. As expected, single-member plurality elections are linked to a greater share of lawyers and law graduates in parliaments compared to those elected via PR even after controlling for several alternative explanations.
On October 30, 2018, the South Korean Supreme Court, in an 11–2 decision, upheld the judgment of the lower court, which ordered New Nippon Steel Corporation, a Japanese company, to provide KRW 100 million (approximately USD 84,000) in compensation to each of the four plaintiffs, who were forced to work at Japanese steel mills during World War II. In an earlier 2012 decision, the Supreme Court remanded the case after holding that the claims were not precluded by the Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims and the Economic Cooperation Between the Republic of Korea and Japan (Claims Agreement). The Supreme Court held that the Claims Agreement was not a result of negotiation about compensation for Japanese colonization, but rather was a political agreement the purpose of which was to resolve the financial and civil debt/credit relationship between Korea and Japan. On the final appeal, the Supreme Court concluded that plaintiffs’ claims were directly related to the illegality of Japan's colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula and that the rights of the victims of forced labor to make a compensation claim did not fall within the scope of the Claims Agreement.
The absence of class voting or the existence of “reverse” class voting under rising inequality remains a puzzling question in South Korea. While poor voters seem to support conservative candidates more than the rich do, this is due to a confounding effect of age, because poverty is concentrated among the elderly in Korea. Using the Korean General Social Survey data (KGSS 2004–2014) covering two presidential elections, two general legislative elections, and two nationwide local elections, we find that Koreans, in particular the poor electorate, engage in class voting in both objective and subjective terms. While regional and generational cleavages continue to be the most important determinants of partisan competition, class by income levels as well as subjective identity significantly impact vote choice when age is adequately controlled for.
This article examines why the “history issue” continues to hinder Japanese-Korean relations after nominally successful negotiations such as the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea and the 2015 comfort women agreement. It contends that leaders put off and quite possibly sacrificed reconciliation in order to achieve treaties and agreements that addressed more immediate security, economic, and political needs. However, because agreements were not transparently negotiated, partly due to the lack of a neutral third-party mediator, Koreans believe the treaties were not fair nor final settlements. Additionally, the reconciliation process has been flawed because it haphazardly tackles disagreements and does not consider time. A third-party such as the United States should mediate a settlement between Japan and South Korea to ensure adequate confidence building measures. Such measures will lower the costs of giving and accepting an apology, increasing the chances of an enduring and legitimate treaty.
Timely access to innovative medical technologies driven by accelerated patient access pathways can substantially improve the health outcomes of patients who often have few therapeutic alternatives. We analyzed lead-times for the medical procedure reimbursement coverage process undertaken in South Korea from 2014 to 2017, which is considered one of the most important factors contributing to delays in patient access to new medical technologies.
This analysis was performed using the open datasets source of “Medical Procedure Expert Evaluation Committee (MPEEC)” meeting results and medical procedure coverage application information published on the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service Web site.
From 2014 to 2017, 90 percent of all new coverage determinations took on average >250 days with almost 20 percent taking more than 2 years (>750 days), The average lead-time from the medical procedure coverage application to MPEEC meeting in 2015 was 435.0 ± 214.7 days (n = 26), which was significantly shorter than the average lead-time in 2014 (624.9 ± 290.3 days, n = 16) (p < .05). The average lead-time from application to official enforcement in 2015 was significantly shorter than that of 2014 (540.8 ± 217.4; n = 16 versus 734.1 ± 299.7 days; n = 26, respectively) (p < .05).
While this analysis showed a general trend of a reduction in the time taken to receive a positive coverage determination for a new medical technology, the average lead-time remains well over the government mandated 100 days. To continue this trend and further enhance the patient access pathway for medical procedure coverage determinations, some measures can be applied. In particular, the extended “One-Stop Service” program encompassing coverage determinations is one such recommendation that could be considered.
South Korea is the only nation to become an important donor nation after being a recipient of Official Development Assistance (ODA) for several decades. In 2010, it became a member of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee, and while it has continued to use its experience as a former ODA recipient to inform its distribution practices, it also has evolved its ODA policies in response to changes in international norms and the imperatives associated with being a DAC-member nation. We know that, while policies may change, actual ODA disbursements—which nations are selected as recipients and receive ODA in what amounts—may lag or even remain unchanged. In this paper, we use the case of South Korea to determine how actual ODA disbursements change in response to policy changes. To accomplish this, we use a selection model to conduct a statistical analysis of South Korea's ODA disbursements using dyadic data from 1987 to 2016. Our results indicate that, while there has been continuity in terms of which nations receive South Korean ODA, there were also notable changes in its disbursements. Specifically, the ODA policy changes the South Korean government enacted did result in an altered profile of nations that were targeted by South Korea as ODA recipients.
This article discusses Nancy Abelmann's scholarship on the university and includes a new study of the South Korean media discourse on Chinese international students—a work she planned but could not undertake. Abelmann studied the university, viewing it as a window to society's particular desires and anxieties regarding the future. Her research on South Korean university students reveals their personal fervor and struggle to stay afloat amidst the country's rapid modernization and globalization. Her later work on the American university considers the struggles of Asian American and Asian international students, illuminating the new realities of a global educational market and exploring new ethics of sharing the same university. The study in the second part of this article demonstrates how South Korean universities and public discourse have attempted to “optimize” the increasing numbers of Chinese international students as financial and symbolic capital. The shift between 2001 and 2016 from maximizing to distancing shows that Korean universities were straddling a line between the desire to become global institutions and the realization that they are a second-choice destination in the global higher-education market.
Party activists are important for building party–voter
links. This study focuses on the motivations of
these activists and the hypothesis that economic
factors are associated with more programmatic and
policy-driven platforms. I examine a novel
comparative survey data set of party activists
collected in multiple districts in South Korea and
Mongolia to determine whether national economic
development, the local economy, or individual income
shapes activist motivations. The results challenge
the economic account and, instead, shed light on the
importance of party characteristics, such as size,
ideology, and whether a party has its roots in
How do the president's calculations in achieving policy
goals shape the allocation of cabinet portfolios?
Despite the growing literature on presidential
cabinet appointments, this question has barely been
addressed. I argue that cabinet appointments are
strongly affected not only by presidential
incentives to effectively deliver their key policy
commitments but also by their interest in having
their administration maintain strong political
leverage. Through an analysis of portfolio
allocations in South Korea after democratization, I
demonstrate that the posts wherein ministers can
influence the government's overall reputation
typically go to nonpartisan professionals
ideologically aligned with presidents, while the
posts wherein ministers can exert legislators'
influence generally go to senior copartisans. My
findings highlight a critical difference in
presidential portfolio allocation from parliamentary
democracies, where key posts tend to be reserved for
senior parliamentarians from the ruling party.
In this paper, we examine the extent to which wartime violence against civilians during the Korean War affects people's current attitudes toward South Korea and other involved countries. Using a difference-in-differences (DID) approach that compares the cohorts born before and after the war, we find that direct exposure to wartime violence induces negative perceptions regarding perpetrator countries. As many of the civilian massacres were committed by the South Korean armed forces, prewar cohorts living in violence-ridden areas during the war demonstrate significantly less pride in South Korea today. In contrast, postwar cohorts from those violent areas, who were exposed to intensive anti-communist campaigns and were incentivized to differentiate themselves from the victims, show significantly greater pride in South Korea, and greater hospitality toward the United States than toward North Korea, compared to prewar cohorts in the same areas and to the same cohorts born in non-violent areas.
This article analyzes the ways that Korean Chinese migrants are exploited aesthetically in their ancestral homeland by focusing on their mass-media refiguration. These return migrants, or the Chosŏnjok, have been received by their South Korean co-ethnics into what may be called a “hierarchical nationhood.” The strategies of temporal displacement, this article contends, are employed in South Korean cinema and television dramas in order to contain the uncanny cultural difference embodied by these ethnic returnees. As a result, a certain sense of belatedness is inscribed on the bodies of these migrants. If this temporal refiguration wards off the psychological discomfort of dealing with difference in the midst of sameness, it may be said at the same time to fetishize its object within an archaic constellation that South Koreans find endearing, yet disturbingly absent, from their highly consumerist contemporary society. In attempting to delineate the “nostalgia politics,” the article aims to shed light on the function of certain mass media representations, including Hongjin Na's movie The Yellow Sea, in the context of the socioeconomic realities of South Korea.
This article draws on ethnographic research to elucidate ways in which young women's care labor is appropriated by the state as “free labor” in South Korea. Building upon John Krinsky's notion of free labor as state-orchestrated exploitation of public sector workers and Kyounghee Kim's research on gendered care labor, this article examines the gendered experience of school social workers who are certified at a lower level than professional social workers, and are hired, laid off, and rehired by the state-sponsored Education Welfare Priority Project. It traces recent unionization efforts by school social workers and attempts to explain why these workers do not recognize care work as a source of exploitation. Finally, the author presents analytical tools to better understand the intersection of state employment, exploitation, and gendered care labor as an emerging neoliberal form of labor.
The feminisation of international migration for care labour has gained prominence in the last three decades. It has been theorised mainly in the context of the changing care regime in the Global North; the changes in other parts of the world have been largely neglected. This article explores the dynamics between changing care regimes, labour markets and international migration in the East Asian context through the case of Korean Chinese migrants to South Korea. Korean Chinese came to South Korea through various legal channels beginning in the late 1980s and occupy the largest share of both male and female migrants in South Korea. Korean Chinese women have engaged in service sector jobs, including domestic work and caregiving, since their influx, yet such work was only legalised during the 2000s in response to demographic changes and the care deficit. This article sheds light on the female Korean Chinese migrants’ engagement in care work in the ambiguous legal space of migration and the care labour market, and their changing roles in the process of development of the care labour market. Based on interviews with Korean Chinese migrants in South Korea, immigration statistics, and the Foreign Employment Survey in 2013, this study explores how the care regime intersects with migration in the process of the care regimes development.
Regarding the causes of the Sewol ferry accident that claimed 304 lives in April 2014, some scholars have blamed neoliberal reforms such as deregulation and privatization for the safety regulatory failure. Others have highlighted the role of industry influence and corruption. Our analysis shows that regulatory capture was the crucial causal factor; moreover, this capture was institutionalized from the state-corporatist arrangements of the authoritarian period rather than reflecting new arrangements under the democratic era or corruption per se. The delegation of the critical safety regulation enforcement to the shipping industry association was not introduced as a neoliberal reform but in the context of state corporatism of the Park Chung-hee regime. Democratic governments continued to protect the monopoly of the lucrative Incheon–Jeju ferry business, contrary to neoliberal logic. The legacies of state corporatism persist despite post-financial crisis reform.
This article aims to understand the policies of three major Northeast Asian states toward the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court (ICC) that it established. Using a unique measurement tool, it traces the interactions of South Korea, Japan, and China with the Court since negotiations on its formation in the late 1990s. Included in this analysis is a focus on how Northeast Asian states have responded to recent efforts to bring North Korea into the Court's orbit for that country's military actions in 2010 and its human rights record over several decades. Data is based on publicly available documents as well as interviews with diplomats, legislators, legal experts, and activists in Japan, South Korea, and China conducted in 2015.
To what extent is a diverse news media environment good for activists who seek attention for their cause? Scholars agree that activist groups depend on the media to reach policymakers and bystanders. Yet prior scholars have overlooked how factors that contribute to media environment diversity—including journalistic norms, market structures, outlets’ partisanship, and audiences’ news consumption habits—can have contradictory implications for activist groups. Disaggregating questions of gaining publicity from questions of the message and reach of coverage, this article shows that while pluralistic media environments are more accessible to activists, more homogeneous media environments help groups that manage to break into the mainstream news reach wider audiences with more coherent narratives. These findings challenge common assumptions about the news media in Japan and Korea. A paired comparison of hepatitis C-related activism in both countries demonstrates how the forces democratizing access to the media are paradoxically reducing the persuasive potential of publicity.
Recent reforms of family policy signal a turning point in the Korean welfare state, as they undermine the welfare developmentalism that is commonly ascribed to Korean social policy. Drawing on the East Asian as well as Western welfare state literatures, this research seeks to understand the politics behind family policy reforms. In doing so, this research argues that political parties were the driver of these reforms, contrary to the conventional ‘parties do not matter’ perspective that dominates the East Asian welfare state literature. Utilizing the party competition thesis from the study of Western welfare states, this article demonstrates that political parties, the unlikely reform agency due to their perceived non-policy orientation, moved family policy to centre stage in election campaigns. Far-reaching changes in the electorate, namely the diminishing effect of regionalism and the increasing importance of young voters, incentivized parties to promote family policy. Thus, this research calls for bringing political parties into the analysis of East Asian welfare politics.
As modern constitutions speak in the name of the people, they contribute to constituting the body politic by making potentially contentious claims about its members’ identity, rights, and duties. Focusing on the North and South Korean Constitutions, this article examines the claims about peoplehood articulated in both texts since their concurrent adoption in 1948. The analysis argues that these claims are irreducible to the North and the South competing over two ideologically antagonistic conceptions of the body politic—a rivalry supposedly embodied in and magnified by their constitutions’ use of differentiated terms to designate the people: inmin and kungmin. Instead, these categories should be seen in light of their synchronic commonalities in the North and South Korean Constitutions as well as diachronic transformations throughout the successive versions of each text, revealing that constituting the people has been less a matter of conflict between both Koreas than within each.
Regional bloc voting in South Korea has been ascribed to voters’ psychological attachments to birthplace. This article seeks to expand the existing discussion of regionalism by showing that economic conditions in voters’ places of residence affect vote choices at the individual level and produce clustering of votes at the aggregate level in South Korea. While the idea of residence-based regionalism has previously been suggested, empirical scrutiny of the idea has been limited. Exploiting a Bayesian multilevel strategy, this article provides evidence that short-term economic changes at the province level affected voters’ choices in the 2007 presidential election in South Korea, independent of the long-term political affiliation between regional parties and their constituents. The positive association between local economic conditions and vote choices remains significant, controlling for perceptions of national economic conditions and other individual level covariates such as age and political attitudes.
This study explores collaboration between state actors and non-state specialists in the market for coercion. We focus on the case of forced evictions in South Korea, where violence carried out by private companies has occurred with the implicit, and at times explicit, sanctioning of the state. This level of government–private security cooperation has traditionally been explained by various hypotheses, including arguments about the weak capacity of a state to enforce compliance, trends in the neo-liberal marketization of state power, or as the outcome of a state being captured by the capitalist classes. Documenting the history of urban redevelopment projects and changes in government responses to major protest incidents in Korea, we instead argue that this niche market for private force is an observable implication of a shift in state–society relations in the wake of democratization. This phenomenon is, in effect, a very undemocratic response to democratization, by state elites.