Poster Paper: The Roles of Political Competition and Financial Autonomy in the Diffusion of Policy Innovations in South Korea: The Case of Participatory Budgeting Policy

Friday, November 4, 2016
Columbia Ballroom (Washington Hilton)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jooho Lee1, Soonhee Kim2 and Junesoo Lee2, (1)University of Nebraska, (2)KDI School of Public Policy and Management

Over the past decades, scholars in public administration and policy has offered different models of policy diffusion and adoption (Berry 2014) and have tested those models in diverse policy areas at different levels of government. This research examines the diffusion and adoption of one single policy at local governments in a single country, which is a participatory budgeting (PB) policy adoption at local governments in South Korea. Since 2004, a PB policy has been widely and rapidly diffused across all 242 local governments in South Korea. Of 242, 106 local governments voluntarily adopted PB ordinances before it was mandated in 2011 while 136 local governments enacted them after 2011. A review of PB policy adoption literature reveals that PB scholars have discussed conceptual issues, offered normative prescriptions, or provided anecdotal evidence based on case studies or descriptive statistics. A few studies, however, have provided a systematic and comprehensive understanding and knowledge about the PB policy adoption by local governments in South Korea. In order to fill the research gaps, we attempt to address a question of why certain local governments voluntarily adopt PB policy prior to 2011. Berry and Berry’s policy diffusion model is used as a theoretical framework that guides us to develop a preliminary model of PB policy adoption at local governments and construct hypotheses. Berry and Berry’s model argues that government’s policy adoption is function of internal determinants and external effects and learning, competition, imitation, normative pressures, and coercion play as main diffusion mechanisms. In our conceptual model, we will focus on the roles of financial autonomy and political competition as internal determinants and external effects in local governments’ adoption of PB policy. In order to test a preliminary model of PB policy adoption, we collected and compiled multiple datasets (e.g. 2015 Survey of PB in Local Government, Korean census data, and local executive and council election data), and construct a panel dataset with 229 local governments covering the period between 2003 and 2011. Preliminary findings will be reported and discussed to draw theoretical implications for policy innovation research in general and policy and managerial lessons for PB practices.