The analysis of election results from South Korea presented in this paper is one part of a cross-national study of electoral dynamics in several countries, including the Nordic countries, Britain, Italy, the United States, and Japan. The object of the study is primarily to assess the general applicability of the logit methodology for ecological analysis of election results, formulated by Thomsen (1987). In a "most different systems research design," as recommended by Przeworski and Teune (1970), South Korea was chosen as a supposed extreme case marked by volatile electoral behavior during the critical transformation from authoritarian regime to emergent democracy (Billet, 1990; Han, 1989). It is, of course, possible to find more extreme cases in third world countries, but one advantage with the case of Korea is that direct election fraud in counting the votes has been a minor problem in recent elections (C. Park, 1988a, p. 64).
The general approach in the analysis is to identify possible causes of the electoral dynamics at four different levels: the national, the regional, the local district, and the individual levels. While actual election results are well suited for the study of electoral dynamics on the first three levels, the estimation of individual voting behavior by the method of ecological inference is more controversial. However, in a country like South Korea, where survey results on individual voter mobility is either not available or of questionable validity, we believe that ecological estimates of voter mobility can provide important clues concerning the possible motives of the individual voters.1