The purpose of this paper is to trace the causes of patronage politics in Korea. While the study of clientelism or patronage perspective in modern political science focuses on the relationship between political parties (or politicians) and voters, Korea's patronage politics can be characterized by a dyadic resource exchange relationship between political elite and surrounding politicians. While Korean political culture originated from the Confucianism plays as a factor in naturally accepting inequality between patron and client, on the other hand, it has been a influential factor strengthening the so-called political regionalism. Along with these cultural factors, the two major parties that have strong foothold in a specific region maintain patronage politics through electoral rules that facilitate securing regional support. In sum, it is revealed that Korean patronage politics has been maintained by the geographically divided political structure and political culture derived from Confucianism and has bee reinforced by electoral rules.
Chang Soo Choe, Cyber Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea
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