We use spatial econometrics on a unique data set covering 229 Korean regions to analyze the outcome of Korea’s 2017 presidential election. We see strong statistical evidence of spatial correlation, suggesting that neighboring regions vote similarly, which is in accord with findings in the international context. Our findings are distinct in that we see little evidence that Korea’s 2017 outcome was driven by the economic disparities between the southeast and the southwest, a highly sensitive political issue in the country. Voters’ region of origin and age are the two most important factors in vote choice, irrespective of the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of their regions.

This content is only available via PDF.