Woo Chang Kang - CEAS Postdoctoral Associate & Lecturer in Political Science
Despite strong theoretical claims that politicians should target distributive benefits to swing voters and competitive districts, the empirical evidence is mixed. This paper resolves the inconsistencies by focusing on the time-varying incentives of an incumbent government. To the extent that election-motivated behavior entails directing government resources to marginal voters and constituencies, this behavior can be expected to peak in the period just prior to an election. An analysis of subsidy allocation in South Korea provides evidentiary support for this claim. In general, more subsidies are allotted to incumbents’ core municipalities; however, before legislative elections, municipalities with close legislative races receive greater share of subsidies.
Woo Chang Kang received his Ph.D from New York University in 2015. His research focuses on political economy and political behavior in East Asia. His dissertation, Who Gets What, When: Electoral Cycles in Pork Barrel Politics, develops a dynamic theory of distributive politics where incumbents target marginal voters before an election but cater to core supporters after an election. He tests this theory in three developed democracies: South Korea, Japan and the United States. Beyond his dissertation work, his scholarly interests range widely from exploring the long-term effects of historical events such as the Korean War to understanding public attitudes and voting behaviors in contemporary politics. While at Yale, he will be team-teaching an undergraduate seminar with Professor Frances Rosenbluth, “The Politics and Political Economy of East Asia.”
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Light lunch will be provided.