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Erosion of Public Confidence in the Korean National Assembly

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Authors
Park, Chan Wook; Lee, Hyeon-Woo
Issue Date
2007
Publisher
Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Center for Social Sciences, Seoul National University
Citation
Development and Society, Vol.36 No.2, pp. 265-296
Keywords
Korean Citizens’ Trust and Confidence in the National AssemblyPerformance-Based ExplanationDemocratic Consolidation
Abstract
Using recent survey data, this paper aims to empirically investigate the state and source of Korean citizens’' trust and confidence in the National Assembly. Roughly speaking, the National Assembly is trusted only by one out of ten citizens. Since the country’'s democratization, citizens’' trust and confidence has been eroding. Presently, the National Assembly is the least trusted among the key public or private institutions. A cross-national comparison of liberal democracies in the world shows that only a few national legislatures are less trusted by their citizens than the Korean National Assembly. Furthermore, this study confirms the empirical validity of performance-based explanation about what factors generate citizens’' trust and confidence in the National Assembly. At the aggregate level, an erosion of citizens’' trustful attitude toward the legislature is matched by their decreased positive evaluation of the overall job performance by the legislature. At the individual level, a citizen’'s legislative trust and confidence depends mainly on his or her evaluation of the performance of the legislature itself, the executive interacting with it, or the democratic regime as a whole. Most Koreans pass an unfavorable judgment on the performance of the legislature, not because they think it is a simply idle institution but because politicians are seen to pursue partisan interests too frantically within the institution. Given its drained reservoir of citizens’' favorable attitudes toward it, the present National Assembly, even with its heightened constitutional status and emerging policy activism, may not be likely to serve as a key agent for facilitating democratic consolidation on Korean soil.
ISSN
1598-8074
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/86704
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소)Development and Society Development and Society Vol.36 No.1/2 (2007)
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