Assessing Central-Local Government Relations in Contemporary South Korea: An Application of Page & Goldsmith’s Comparative Framework

  • Jaewon Yoo Hanyang University
Keywords: Decentralisation, Localism, Central-Local Government Relations, Page & Goldsmith’s Comparative Framework, South Korea

Abstract

This paper has two main purposes: first, it measures the level and degree of decentralisation in contemporary Korea, and, second, it explains why decentralisation is slow or stagnant. To measure the level of decentralisation in Korea, this paper uses Page & Goldsmith’s triple measures of function, discretion, and access, which were developed to examine the extent of centralisation and decentralisation in any given polity. The results suggest that Korea is both legally and politically centralised. In Korea, a centralised party system has combined with other factors to drive centralisation, overcoming the decentralising forces that focus mainly on local elected and appointed officials. Centralising forces include the bureaucratic elitism of national officials, cultural disdain for local governments, and local people’s feeble affective attachment to local identities and communities.

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Published
2018-07-30
Section
Articles