[1] Kim, Wooseok, Michael Bernhard, and Allen Hicken. "Party System Institutionalization and the Durability of Competitive Authoritarian Regimes." Accepted at the European Journal of Political Research.

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 can be useful for making sense of regime dynamics even in non-democratic contexts.

[2] Neundorf, Anja, Eugenia Nazrullaeva, Ksenia Northmore-Ball, Katerina Tertytchnaya, and Wooseok Kim. “Varieties of Indoctrination: Introducing a Global Dataset on the Politicization of Education and Political Communication.” Accepted at Perspectives on Politics.

For many decades, scholars have assumed that voluntary compliance and citizens’ commitment to a regime’s principles and values are critical for regime stability. A growing literature argues that indoctrination is essential to achieve this congruence. However, the absence of a clear definition and comprehensive comparative measures of indoctrination have hindered systematic research on such issues. In this paper, we fill this gap by synthesizing literature across disciplines to clarify the concept of indoctrination, focusing particularly on the politicization of education and the media. We then outline how the abstract concept can be operationalized, and introduce and validate an original expert-coded dataset on indoctrination that covers 160 countries from 1945 to the present. The dataset should facilitate a new generation of empirical inquiry on the causes and consequences of indoctrination.

[3] Kim, Wooseok. (2023). "Measuring Party System Institutionalization in Democracies." Party Politics. Advance online publication.

Party system institutionalization (PSI) is regarded as a critical underpinning of democracy. However, the systematic study of PSI in democracies is constrained by weaknesses in existing measures, which are limited in coverage or comprehensiveness, and do not account for the latent nature of the concept, measurement error, and non-random missing data. This article presents a novel measure of PSI that uses a Bayesian latent variable measurement strategy to overcome extant measurement issues. The subsequent measure not only offers unmatched coverage and has demonstrated validity, but also exhibits more robust empirical associations with a range of outcomes related to the performance of democracy than existing measures. The measure should facilitate more integrated research on the causes and consequences of PSI in democracies around the world.

[4] 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. doi:10.1017/jea.2021.22

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.

Under Review

[1] "Democracy, Indoctrination, and the Politicization of Teaching," with Agustina Paglayan and Anja Neundorf.

Recent studies show that the spread of democracy rarely led to the expansion of primary schooling because non-democracies already provided high quantities of it. Still, it is possible that democratization did impact other aspects of education systems, such as the content of education or the politicization of teaching jobs. Studying this cross-nationally has been infeasible due to data limitations. We address this gap using an original dataset that contains information about these aspects of education for 160 countries from 1945-2021. We document that transitions to democracy are often preceded by a decline in the politicization of education content and teaching jobs. However, soon after democratization occurs, this decline usually halts. Counterfactual estimates suggest that democratization roughly halves the degree to which teacher hiring and firing decisions are politicized, but has a smaller impact on the content of education. The empirical patterns that we uncover introduce important puzzles for future research.

Read the working paper HERE.

[2] "Party System Congruence and Bicameralism," with Ken Kollman and Allen Hicken.

This paper, with newly available data on upper chamber elections, compares party systems across bicameral legislatures and links differences in those systems to institutional design and policy outcomes. We propose new measures of congruence between lower and upper chambers: degrees of partisan congruence (similar parties) and nationalization congruence (similar levels of strength of regionalized parties), and show variation over time and across countries in these measures. The powers of upper chambers matter critically in shaping both types of congruence. Moreover, powers of upper chambers interact with the two types of congruence to influence government spending patterns. When upper chambers are powerful, partisan congruence increases government spending while more nationalization congruence decreases government spending.

Working Papers

[1] "Party Systems and the Provision of Public Goods and Services."

I examine how two key dimensions of party systems—their degree of institutionalization and nationalization—shape the provision of public goods in democracies. Party system institutionalization enhances the capacity of parties to sustain the type of intertemporal coordination that is necessary for the effective provision of public goods, whereas party system nationalization incentivizes public goods provision by broadening 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. In support, I demonstrate that while party system institutionalization and nationalization are both required for establishing a policymaking environment that promotes public goods expenditures, party system institutionalization seems to be more important for generating actual improvements in public goods outcomes.

[2] "Party Systems Institutionalization across Regimes and Regime Transitions."

Party system institutionalization (PSI) is regarded as a critical underpinning of democracies, but autocracies have also developed novel types of party systems as they have increasingly come to rely on elections and parties to consolidate power. However, there has been little study of whether or how the stability and predictability of party systems may matter in autocracies. In this paper, I use a Bayesian latent variable measurement approach to develop a novel measure of PSI that covers 142 countries from 1975 to 2019. I then apply the measure to explore the short-term and long-term implications that PSI may have for the durability of regimes across regime types and over time.

[3] "How Data Collection Methods Affect Inferences: Lessons from Three Education Data Sets,"with Adrian del Río, Carl Henrik Knutsen, Eugenia Nazrullaeva, Anja Neundorf, and Agustina Paglayan.

Innovative and resource-demanding data collection is crucial for advancing social science research. Many efforts have been made to assemble original datasets and make them publicly available for the benefit of the wider research community. Unfortunately, it is common for researchers to use existing datasets without paying sufficient attention to how they were constructed. To shed light on the advantages, limitations, and implications of different data collection methodologies and assess how (often seemingly trivial) differences in assumptions or practices influence scores, we take advantage of a unique opportunity to compare three new historical datasets. These three datasets have important similarities that facilitate comparisons, measuring similar aspects of education practices and policies across countries, but they were created using different methods, and even seemingly similar measures rely on slightly different assumptions. The EPSM dataset (Education Policies and Systems across Modern History) contains information about the content of de jure school curriculum, teacher training, and other education policies and is based on hand-coding a combination of primary and secondary sources. The HEQ initiative (Historical Education Quality Database) gathers information on similar issues but relies entirely on primary sources such as education laws, regulations, and national curriculum plans. The V-Indoc dataset (Varieties of Indoctrination) relies on country-expert assessments of school curriculums, teacher policies, and the presence and nature of political indoctrination. We introduce each dataset and characterize the degree of convergence/divergence between comparable concepts and variables along several relevant dimensions, e.g., coding assumptions, definition of thresholds, and differences in de jure policies versus de facto practices. Finally, we discuss the broader implications of our analysis for the construction and use of datasets, clarifying the advantages and limitations of each type of data collection strategy, developing sets of guidelines for dataset-makers (pertaining, e.g., to documentation practices and clarification of assumptions underlying the coding) as well as data users (pertaining, e.g., to tailoring the choice of a dataset to substantive need and being cognizant and transparently communicating assumptions underlying the data used).