We adopt a game theory approach that considers democratization as the result of strategic interactions between government and nongovernment actors in East and Southeast Asia, and test the implications systematically with data from South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. This makes three contributions to scholarship. First, the synergy of a game theory framework based on area studies information draws attention to the conditions under which players’ threats or actions are credible, to support inclusive theory-building. Second, the consistent findings across East and Southeast Asian countries often cited as critical cases on opposite sides of larger debates in the discipline, and across different operationalizations of democratization, support the idea that democratization occurs under weak economic conditions. Third, our rigorous tests beyond regime change-over, and across empirically derived heuristics of time span, fill theoretical and empirical lapses in order to adjudicate democratization in the region and provide a clear theoretical and empirical lens for current and future analyses.
A Democratization Model for East and Southeast Asia: What’s Game Theory Got to Do with It?
O. Fiona Yap is a Professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra. Her main research interests are in the public policy and political economy of East and Southeast Asia. She is a co-editor of the European Journal of Development Research and Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, and general editor of the academic blog Presidential Power (presidential-power.net). She gratefully acknowledges research funding for this project from the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2018S1A3A2075531). Email: <email@example.com>
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O. Fiona Yap; A Democratization Model for East and Southeast Asia: What’s Game Theory Got to Do with It?. Asian Survey 1 April 2021; 61 (2): 241–272. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/as.2021.61.2.241
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