Shinhye Choi


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Formal Theory and Quantitative Methodology
East Asia
Academic Subfields: 
Comparative Politics
Personal Statement: 

My dissertation and book project,``Politics Behind the Ballot: The Strategic Use of Party Reforms in South Korea,” focus on how strong presidencies can determine the form and function of party reforms in new democracies. Under strong presidential systems, where the executive abides by formal rules but is still willing to push her de facto power to its constitutional limits, I argue that political parties can counteract Presidential discretion by democratizing the candidate selection process and thereby foster career-building incentives for establishment candidates. While existing scholarship portrays strong presidencies as a fundamental institutional barrier to promoting party democracy in many developing countries, my dissertation demonstrates that under certain conditions, a strong presidency can instead pave the way for parties to voluntarily adopt democratic reforms. To test the observable implications of my argument, I use both quantitative and qualitative evidence that I gathered during fieldwork in Korea.

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