Asian Survey

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ISSN / EISSN : 0004-4687 / 1533-838X
Published by: University of California Press (10.1525)
Total articles ≅ 9,913
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, , Susan Ostermann
Published: 2 September 2021
Eliminating corruption is seen as a practice that supports democratic governance. We argue, however, that particular anticorruption politics in contemporary India can damage the project of democratic deepening, because elites often deploy these politics against the representation of the marginalized. Anticorruption politics can subvert democratic deepening by challenging as corrupt the means by which the parties of the marginalized mobilize resources to compete in elections and by selectively targeting lower-caste political leaders for indictment on corruption charges within an overall discriminatory politics of deservedness. Anticorruption governance by parties in power seriously hinders the provision of welfare to the poor because of the technocratic and centralizing character of the governance reforms. We argue overall that while corruption is indeed damaging to democracy, elite anticorruption politics can also represent a significant barrier to democratic deepening and welfare.
, Kwangho Jung
Published: 23 August 2021
There has been a debate on how the state-driven anticorruption movement during the Xi Jinping administration has influenced state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Research has examined the relationship between corruption and economic development at the country level in Asia and has found paradoxically that economic growth and high corruption levels can coexist. However, the “Asian paradox” that appears at the country level may be a transitional phenomenon of the short term. Not many researchers have empirically compared individual firm-level performance before and after a strong anticorruption drive, drawing on relevant comparison groups. This study tests whether Xi’s 2012 anticorruption campaign improved SOEs’ performance. With a difference-in-differences method, it explores whether the anticorruption campaign had different effects on the financial performance of SOEs and non-SOEs (private companies). We find that the anticorruption initiative improved SOEs’ financial performance and benefited SOEs more than non-SOEs.
Published: 23 August 2021
With its emphasis on organizational minimalism, how does ASEAN induce change in its members’ policies? This paper examines the impact of consensus within ASEAN on haze mitigation in the Indonesian archipelago. When ASEAN articulates its environmental initiatives with a strong consensus, this clarity in its norms incentivizes emulation. The stronger the consensus within the group, the more compelling it becomes for members to adopt the agreement. Such prosocial behavior reflects nudging. Strong ASEAN consensus is a precursor of nudging that leads to dimmer hotspots. This study draws on discourse analysis of ASEAN summit statements on the haze, R programming to analyze NASA data on the brightness of peatland hotspots, and a case study to illustrate the causal mechanism. The findings identify ASEAN’s role in environmental governance, particularly with respect to when consensus-based nudging is more or less likely to incentivize member states to curb transboundary haze.
Eunsook Jung
Published: 20 August 2021
Many scholars argue that democracy tames religious fundamentalism. This inclusion-moderation theory holds that when radical religious movements are incorporated in the democratic system, they have incentives to adhere to institutional frameworks to influence politics and access power. But despite these claims, we have witnessed a growing influence of religious fundamentalism in Asian democratic politics, with immoderation becoming prominent. Why have religious fundamentalist movements become influential in various democracies in Asia? How have they shaped policies? Using a most-different-systems approach, I investigate religious fundamentalism in two dissimilar democracies: Islamic fundamentalism in Indonesia and Christian fundamentalism in South Korea. In both cases, I argue that religious fundamentalist movements facilitate immoderate politics through strong mobilization capacity, agenda-setting power, and framing. The study contributes to the inclusion-moderation literature through its discussion of religious fundamentalism and its cross-religious comparison.
Published: 20 August 2021
Can contemporary liberal states formulate and pursue a “liberal” immigration control policy? Set against the backdrop of the experience of immigrant-receiving Western liberal democracies, this article examines this question by focusing on Japan. Its main objective is to map the under-studied case of Asia’s most liberal democracy, which is conventionally associated with an “at best illiberal” stance on immigration. I contend, first, that liberal immigration control policy is inevitably defined by approximation, and second, that Japanese policy outputs have become, albeit to varying degrees, more liberal in three fundamental domains of immigration control: the admission policy is increasingly open and unambiguous; the selection policy is gradually being racially decentered; and the removal policy is more attuned to migrants’ rights. However, this case also demonstrates that such an evolution generates inconsistencies across, and tensions within, the different policy domains, which underscores the contemporary liberal state’s general incoherence on immigration affairs.
Published: 9 August 2021
Do presidential approval ratings affect exchange rates? The empirical purview of the vast literature on this topic has been confined to the run-up to elections. The importance of approval ratings in non-election periods has therefore been under-studied. Examining daily data on the exchange rate of the Korean won during the presidency of Park Geun Hye, we find that the won weakened (1) when Park’s ratings were low and (2) when they bounced back unexpectedly from a low level. This finding explains why Park’s impeachment did not lead to a serious panic in the won market. It seems that well before the impeachment, the exchange rate already reflected the market’s concerns about the uncertainty in the government.
Peter Gries, Richard Turcsányi
Published: 27 July 2021
The Chinese government’s cover-up of the origins of the new coronavirus, and its more openly prideful and aggressive foreign and human rights policies, triggered a dramatic deterioration of foreign views of China in 2020. That year also witnessed a significant increase in anti-Chinese/Asian prejudice around the world. Could the former have shaped the latter? Drawing on theories of prejudice and ideology, and using an Autumn 2020 13-nation European survey about China, this paper explores whether increasingly negative attitudes toward Chinese government policies prejudiced European views of local Chinese students, tourists, and communities. It finds substantial evidence of a spillover effect, an effect which is stronger among conservative Europeans than among progressive Europeans more motivated to avoid prejudice. The paper concludes with thoughts on the danger that China’s prideful “wolf warriors” pose for Chinese students, tourists, and local Chinese communities confronting prejudice in Europe today.
, Chung-Li Wu
Asian Survey, Volume 61, pp 641-662;

In 2005, the single nontransferable vote system for legislative elections in Taiwan was replaced by a mixed-member majoritarian system, with an accompanying reduction in available district seats. In theory, by increasing the threshold of exclusion and placing the power of nomination in the hands of political parties, this reform should reduce vote-buying and local factionalism. We collected data on legislative nominees charged with vote-buying and on the local factional ties of candidates. Our results suggest that the reforms did reduce these problems. First, comparing the proportion of candidates charged with vote-buying before and after the reform shows a decrease in the second and third post-reform elections. Second, factional status predicts a candidate’s likelihood of running in consecutive elections before the reform but not after. Differences between factional and nonfactional candidates ceased to be significant after the reform, revealing the decreasing relevance of factions.
, Yimeng Jia
Asian Survey, Volume 61, pp 615-640;

Why and how did the International Labor Organization and the military junta of Myanmar transform their relationship so dramatically, from confrontation to cooperation, between 2007 and 2010? What insights can be drawn from this case regarding the successful operation of an international organization in an authoritarian environment? By investigating the evolution of the military leadership’s perception, this article aims to demystify authoritarian decision-making and identify the interactive mechanisms operating between internal and external dynamics and between an authoritarian regime and an international organization. The qualitative fieldwork includes direct interviews with former top military government leaders, who provide valuable insights into the decision-making logic at the highest level.
Asian Survey, Volume 61, pp 591-614;

Studies of local governance in China often point to nimble experimentation but problematic implementation. To reconcile these competing images, it is useful to clarify the concepts of experimentation and implementation and see how they unfolded in one policy area. The history of China’s Open Government Information (OGI) initiative shows that the experimentation stage sometimes proceeds well and produces new policy options, but may falter if local leaders are unwilling to carry out an experiment. And the implementation stage often poses challenges, but may improve if the Center initiates new, small-scale experiments and encourages local innovation. This suggests that the experimentation and implementation stages are not so different when officials in Beijing and the localities have diverging interests and the Center is more supportive of a measure than local officials. The ups and downs of OGI, and also village elections, can be traced to the policy goal of monitoring local cadres, the central–local divide, and the pattern of support and opposition within the state.
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