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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Presidential Cabinet Formation as Leadership Strategy in Asian Democracies

  • Author(s): Lee, Dong Seong
  • et al.

This dissertation examines the political and institutional determinants of executive cabinet appointments in the young presidential democracies of East Asia. The researcher develops theories of presidential leadership strategy to explain the variation within countries, across countries, and across ministries in the patterns of cabinet partisanship, focusing on three different dimensions: executive-legislative relations, executive- bureaucracy relations, and executive-ruling party relations. These theories are tested using cabinet-level data from four democracies and an in-depth, minister-level case study of South Korea, where presidents have different incentives to appoint their party members and professional nonpartisans to the cabinet. The researcher finds that the appointment of professional nonpartisans is more prevalent in high-profile positions and with an increase in presidential influence vis-à-vis the legislature. However, the dominant type of these nonpartisan ministers varies significantly across countries with the nature of the civil service system within the executive branch

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