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Sang-Jin Han & Young-Hee Shim: The Global Economic Crisis, Dual Polarization, and Liberal Democracy in South Korea. [Abstract]

This paper aims at a theoretical reflection on and an empirical analysis of the relationship between the global economic crisis and liberal democracy in South Korea. For this, we elaborate the concept of dual polarization and construct a model of path analysis which includes such variables as socio-economic and political-ideological cleavage, political party affiliation, ideological orientation, economic (crisis) outlook, and support for an autocratic presidential rule as potential threats to liberal democracy. Descriptively, the paper examines how liberal democracy has unfolded and where South Korea stands today with regard to the quality of her democracy. Analytically, the paper examines where the potential threat to liberal democracy comes from based on a general population survey in Korea from 2014. The major findings of our analysis include: 1) The support for autocratic presidential power is stronger among citizens than among MPs. 2) Political party affiliation, ideological orientation, and economic (crisis) outlook are closely interrelated and significantly affected by the political-ideological cleavage. All independent variables contribute to explaining support for an autocratic presidential rule. 3) Yet there also exists strong support for a democratic regime among both MPs and citizens.

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