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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Issues, Value Cleavages, and Political Change in East Asia


This study examines the relationship between level of development and the emergence of the Authoritarian-libertarian (A/L) value cleavage in East Asia. We expect that the A/L value cleavage clearly emerges in countries with higher level of development, but does not appear in those at a substantially lower level of development. We first briefly explain the nature of the value change process and outline why it is occurring, thus empirically demonstrating its causal antecedents. We then empirically analyze the political consequences of this value change in four important areas. We look at the relationship between value change and growing levels of social and political alienation along a number of key attitudinal dimensions. We also investigate the relationship between value preferences and a “New Politics” agenda and political involvement. Finally, we explore the social bases of party support and then assess evidence of differences in orientations between party identifiers and nonidentifiers. The study is based on the 1999-2001 wave of the World Values Survey (WVS). The selected 5 East Asian nations exhibit drastically different levels of development levels: Japan, Singapore, Korea, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

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