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Korean Democracy in Transition: A Rational Blueprint for Developing Societies

As Asian countries emerge as global economic powers, many undergo fundamental political transformations. In Korean Democracy in Transition: A Rational Blueprint for Developing Societies, HeeMin Kim evaluates the past thirty years of political change in South Korea, including the decision of the authoritarian government to open up the political process in 1987 and the presidential impeachment of 2004.

Kim uses rational choice theory—which holds that individuals choose to act in ways that they think will give them the most benefit for the least cost—to explain events central to South Korea’s democratization process. Kim’s theoretical and quantitative analysis provides a context for South Korea’s remarkable transformation and offers predictions of what the future may hold for developing nations undergoing similar transitions.

Although there are studies in the field of Korean politics that provide an overview of this important period, there are none that offer the theoretical and analytical rigor of this study. Combining theoretical perspectives with policy-relevant discussion, Korean Democracy in Transition sheds new light on the Korean model of democratization and makes a significant contribution to the field of comparative politics.

HeeMin Kim, professor of political science at Florida State University and professor of social studies education at Seoul National University in Korea, has served as president of the Association for Korean Political Studies and received the Korean Presidential Decoration for outstanding contributions to Korean communities in the United States. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

Source: publisher’s website:

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