Generation Effects? An Empirical Analysis of the Korean National Assembly and Presidential Elections

Cho, Jinman; Eom, Kihong
September 2012
Asian Perspective;2012, Vol. 36 Issue 3, p353
Academic Journal
Generation has played a role in Korean elections, especially since the democratization movement of 1987. In this article, we unify the concept of generation effects to produce two dimensions (the aging effect and the cohort effect), and examine whether these have been embodied in Korean elections. Analysis of survey data for two presidential elections and three National Assembly elections reveals that the importance of generation effects is somewhat exaggerated. For the 2002 and 2007 presidential elections we find that generation had a significant effect on the former but not on the latter. Neither aging effect nor cohort effect had a significant influence on voter choice in any of the National Assembly elections. Even in the 2002 presidential election, in which generation effects are statistically meaningful, their substantive importance is minor compared to that of ideology. We conclude that, with regard to Korean politics, debating the political implications of generation effects is premature.


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