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Politics and Economics: Theory and Evidence from Korea's Regions

Huh, Won-Jea (2009) Politics and Economics: Theory and Evidence from Korea's Regions. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Because there is a controversy about the relationship between democracy and development, my objective is to clarify this confused intellectual landscape by using Korean regional data covering the years 1971-2001. This is a period that spans Korea's transition from dictatorship to democracy. In this dissertation, I use civil society organizations (CSOs) as a yardstick for quantifying the level of regional democracy. And, I test for the impact of CSOs on economic growth and key public goods − such as education and health services, and social overhead capital (SOC) − under the dictatorship and under a democracy. The democratization of Korea in 1987 forms the boundary between the autocratic and democratic regimes. And, it also provides a good opportunity to identify and compare the efficacy of fiscal decentralization in the different political systems. Accordingly, estimating the impact of fiscal decentralization on socioeconomic development before and after 1987, I examine whether the level of fiscal decentralization stimulated by democratic system leads to better public goods. First, the least-squares analysis with fixed effects shows that political civil society has beneficial effects on education and health services but unfavorable effects on SOC and regional domestic product, experiencing a democracy. Moreover, nonpolitical CSOs have also had an ambiguous influence on economic outcomes under a democracy. This is consistent with existing literature arguing that the CSOs can be either rent-seekers and/or proponents for social welfare. A surprising finding, however, is that in general political and nonpolitical CSOs are strongly associated with good economic outcomes under the autocracy. I develop a conceptual framework for interpreting these findings. My analysis also indicates that fiscal decentralization is not always more efficient under a democracy. In fact, with the exception of health services and SOC, fiscal decentralization has a negative association with many economic outcomes under a democracy. All results are robust to the specification checks and the panel corrected standard errors (PCSEs) method.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Huh, Won-Jeawohst@pitt.eduWOHST
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBerkowitz, Danieldmberk@pitt.eduDMBERK
Committee MemberBhattacharya, Souravsourav@pitt.eduSOURAV
Committee MemberFinkel, Stevenfinkel@pitt.eduFINKEL
Committee MemberGruver, Genegruver@pitt.eduGRUVER
Committee MemberRawski, Evelynesrx@pitt.eduESRX
Committee MemberRawski, Thomastgrawski@pitt.eduTGRAWSKI
Date: 30 September 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 29 July 2009
Approval Date: 30 September 2009
Submission Date: 16 July 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Economics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Civil Society; Democracy; Public Goods and Services; Economic Growth; Fiscal Decentralization
Other ID:, etd-07162009-215736
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:51
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:46


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