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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

The Democratic Benefits of Devolution: A Comparison of South Korea and the United States

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2010, v.50 no.2, pp.183-206
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2010.50.2.183
Brian E. ADAMS (San Diego State University)
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Abstract

One argument made in favor of devolution of policy authority to local governments is that it will promote citizen participation by moving decision-making authority “closer” to the people. This paper examines the merits of this argument:will increasing local autonomy have the desired effect of enhancing citizen participation? Based on an examination of citizen participation in the United States and South Korea, I find that even though local governments are not inherently more responsive or open to citizen influence, devolution has democratic benefits because it allows for different types and forms of citizen activity that are limited on the national level. Devolution creates participatory spaces that, if utilized, could enhance civic learning and governmental responsiveness.

keywords
devolution policy making local autonomy Korean local governments governmental responsiveness citizen participation

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