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Prof. Dong Seong Lee Investigates the Effect of Authoritarian/Colonial History on Political Stability 2022.11.23
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Prof. Dong Seong Lee (Department of Public Administration) 

Investigates the Effect of Authoritarian/Colonial History on Political Stability

- Introduced in the global journal ‘The Economist’

- The first to conduct scientific research on political stability in Asia regions


Prof. Dong Seong Lee (Department of Public Administration) / Prof. Fernando Casal Bertoa (Nottingham University)


Prof. Dong Seong Lee (Department of Public Administration) announced a research result about the effect of authoritarianism and colonial history on political stability after democratization for all of the democratic countries in Asia including Korea. Prof. Lee published the research in the internationally renowned academic journal in the party politics field, ‘Party Politics’. Prof. Lee was selected as the Fellow of England’s biggest research funding foundation, The Leverhulme Trust, for proceeding with such research.


In the research field of politics, the history before democratization is discussed to have a major influence on political stability after democratization. However, it has not been precisely identified through systematic research on ‘what effect’ historical facts will have in detail for ‘how long’. This research sets its focus on a representative parameter for measuring political stability, and electoral volatility, to look at how long past authoritarianism and colonial history had their effect.


This research databased all 154 parliament elections results after democratization for 18 democratic countries in Asia including Korea starting from 1948, right after World War II to 2017 for 70 years in panel format and analyzed short, mid, and long-term influence after categorizing colonial history & authoritarianism into 7 types (4 for authoritarianism and 3 for colonial history).


For authoritarian histories such as Taiwan and Mongolia which established themselves based on strong authoritarian parties, the political stability right after authoritarian history is higher than military authoritarian histories like Korea or an individual dictatorship like the Philippines but extracted a result that as the history of democracy extends over 60 years, the difference between different types of authoritarian history fades away.

On the other hand, in the case of colonial history, as discussed in the field of political history research, it was found that British colonies had higher political stability than those of non-British colonies of other countries, but for the countries that recently experienced democratization (e.g., Indonesia, East Timor, etc.), political stability was higher than the former.


This study concludes that the future of Asian democracy and political stability ultimately depends on the will of political leaders and voters to overcome authoritarian and colonial history.


This study was conducted in collaboration with Fernando Casal Bertoa, a professor of political science at Nottingham University in the UK, and the results were introduced not only in weekly magazines such as The Economist ("Democracy declined across Asia in 2021") but also in academic blogs and reports such as East Asia Forum ("The future of democracy and rise of authoritarianism in Asia") and East Asia Institute ADRN Issue Briefing ("How Authoritarian Legacies Play a Role in Shaping Electoral Volatility in Asia").


※ Paper Title: On the Causes of Electoral Volatility in Asia since 1948

※ Journal: Party Politics

※ DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/13540688211046858

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