Kim, Wooseok. (2021). “Presidents and the Conditional Core-Swing Targeting of the National Subsidy in South Korea, 1989-2018.” Journal of East Asian Studies 21(3): 477-97.

In this article, I present a theory of conditional core-swing targeting that focuses on the competition for majority control in legislative elections to explain how presidents use their strong budgetary powers to manipulate the distribution of the national subsidy in South Korea. Presidents whose parties already possess a legislative majority are expected to favor core municipalities to strengthen the foundations of their majority constituency, whereas those who seek majority control are predicted to prioritize swing municipalities in an effort to cross the majority threshold. Presidents are also anticipated to respond to the electoral cycle by shifting subsidies to riskier municipalities when elections approach. Using a novel data set on national subsidy allocations that spans three decades, I find evidence in favor of the hypotheses. This article demonstrates that the beneficiaries of distributive favoritism are not fixed, and that politicians can engage in complex and varied targeting strategies to achieve their objectives.

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Working Paper (Under Review)

Party System Institutionalization in Democracies: Concept and Measurement.

Party system institutionalization is regarded as a critical underpinning of democracies, but much of our understanding of this relationship remains disjoint and inconclusive due to unresolved conceptual, measurement, and data challenges. In this article, I focus the concept on the establishment and entrenchment of the rules that govern interparty competition, and construct a corresponding measure that covers 96 post-WWII democracies using a Bayesian latent variable measurement model, which enables me to account for measurement uncertainty and non-random missing data. The resulting measure not only has unmatched coverage and demonstrated validity, but also better corroborates theoretical expectations than existing measures. The conceptual approach and accompanying measure presented in this article should contribute to the advancement of systematic understandings about the causes and consequences of party system institutionalization across a global sample of democracies.

Working Paper (Under Review)

Party System Institutionalization and Stability in Competitive Authoritarian Regimes (with Michael Bernhard and Allen Hicken).

Party system institutionalization is regarded as a critical underpinning of democracies, but its role in non-democratic systems has been understudied. In this paper, we evaluate whether the concept has meaningful and perhaps unique implications for the durability of competitive authoritarian regimes. We argue that electoral volatility—the most common measure of party system institutionalization in democracies—conveys useful information in competitive authoritarian contexts by signaling the ability of the ruling party to manage the opposition, but note that it needs to be refined to be applicable to such contexts. To this end, we construct an original data set that disaggregates electoral volatility into ruling party seat change and opposition party seat volatility, and further divide opposition party volatility into Type-A and Type-B volatility. We find robust results that democratization becomes more likely when decreases in the ruling party’s seat share are accompanied by opposition party Type-B volatility. This paper demonstrates that the concept of party system institutionalization is useful for making sense of regime dynamics even in non-democratic contexts.

Working Paper

Party Systems and the Provision of Public Goods and Services

Party systems have critical implications for policymaking and policy outcomes in democracies. However, existing studies present an incomplete understanding of such relationships as they tend to each focus narrowly on one attribute of the party system while overlooking the fact that the party system concurrently shapes multiple policymaking parameters. In this paper, I jointly examine how two key dimensions of party systems—their degree of institutionalization and nationalization—explain variations the provision of public goods and services across democracies. Party system institutionalization enhances the capacity of parties to sustain intertemporal policy coordination, whereas party system nationalization broadens the scope of the constituencies that parties cater to. Given that these mechanisms are distinct, I argue that different levels of party system institutionalization and nationalization should have disparate implications for the provision of public goods and services. Using a comprehensive sample of post-WWII democracies, I demonstrate that while party system institutionalization and nationalization are both required for establishing a policymaking environment that promotes the supply of national policies, party system institutionalization is more important for generating higher-quality and more equitable public service outcomes.

Working Paper

The Role of Economic Decline and Malaise in the Rise of Extreme-Nationalist Populism (with Robert J. Franzese, Jr., Diogo Ferrari, Hayden Jackson, Byung Koo Kim, and Patrick Wu).

In recent years, the support for extreme-nationalist populist politicians and parties has grown in developed European as well as in developing Latin American nations. Two “competing” explanations in the literature have been offered to account for the rise of populist, anti-elite, extreme nationalist attitudes: economic malaise and cultural or status threat. We view these two explanations as not at all competing; rather, they are deeply connected and intertwined. In this paper, we argue that individual reactions to economic malaise are shaped by their sociocultural perceptions nurtured in heterogeneous personal and neighborhood experiences. Our theoretical prediction suggests that there will be heterogeneous groups within the samples that vary in their reaction to economic malaise. To gain empirical leverage on these heterogeneous and intertwined causal relations, we employ a novel method called hdpGLM. In our preliminary analyses on the replication of Mutz (2018), hdpGLM confirms the presence of multiple latent clusters in the data that differ in how economic malaise relates to the support for extremist parties.