Social capital and political participation in South Korea

Aie Rie Lee, Yong U. Glasure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article, using the second and third waves of the World Values Surveys study, investigates the development of social capital as understood in terms of civic engagement in Korea. The causal antecedents of social capital and its consequences on mass political attitudes and behaviors are also examined. For the purpose of the empirical studies in this article, however, we evaluate the influence of associational life on a single aspect of political participation, namely political protest. The findings indicate that there is a sharp rise in the percentage of civic engagement over a six-year period between 1990 and 1996 (roughly between the democratic transition and the period of consolidation) and that there is a consistent association between only one form of civil society participation, namely, membership in trade unions and elite-challenging action (protest potential). Consequently, contrary to the findings in prior studies, social capital plays a minor role in political participation in Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-118
Number of pages18
JournalAsian Affairs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007


  • Civil society
  • Political cynicism
  • Protest potential
  • Psychological involvement
  • Social capital
  • Social trust


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