Sociopolitical value orientations in South Korea have changed dramatically throughout the post-World War II period, primarily as a function of intergenerational change and rising levels of education. This article investigates the impact of value change on political cynicism and noncompliance. Methods. This research analyzes data from the three waves of the World Values Surveys from 1982 to 1995. Results. The findings indicate that there had been a general pattern of spreading public distrust of both social and political institutions between Koreans and that more elite-challenging forms of political participation showed the predicted increase as well. Also found are different predictors of our two dependent variables: for political cynicism, those with a higher education and/or more libertarian values were more cynical of political institutions; for protest potential, citizens who are better educated, young, more libertarian, and more active in the political process were more likely to exhibit a greater potential to involve themselves in protest activities. Conclusions. The research findings conclude that value change has played a central role in interpreting the sociopolitical world, and thus in minimizing the public's faith in key political and private institutions in Korea.