Comparative Political Institutions in Asia



Credits / Language / Semester

2Credits / English / Summer


This is a course to provide students with opportunities to learn political institutions. The first goal of this course is to learn the concepts and theories to compare and analyze political institutions in democracies. The second goal is to learn how democracies and non-democracies differ in various Asian country settings. For instance, we will cover topics such as presidential system versus parliamentary system, electoral rules, democracy versus non-democracy, and a variety of authoritarian institutions. How do electoral rules affect the number of political parties? Does a variety of authoritarian regimes in political institutions, one party dominance, communist regimes, and monarch system, for instance, affect policy dynamics? Not only lectures will emphasize theoretical and conceptual topics, but also various Asian countries would be used as empirical examples to show how concepts and theories can be applied to Asian cases.


Political Institutions, Democratization, Democratic Breakdown, Parliamentary Democracy, Presidential Democracy, Comparative Politics, Asian Politics


Detailed syllabus will be distributed on the first day of the class.
.Totalitarianism versus Authoritarianism: Cambodia (DVD)
.A Variety of Authoritarian Institutions & DVD (Burma)
.Theories of Democratization: Indonesia
.Theories of Autocratization: Malaysia
.Consolidation of Democracy: Thailand
.Two Models of Democracy & Presentation 1
.Presidentialism versus Parliamentarism: Korea and Japan
.Party Systems & Cabinets
.Electoral Systems
.Presentation 2: Party System and/or Cabinets
.Issues on Bicameralism
.Presentation 3: Electoral Systems
.Concepts of Veto Players and Policies: Politics of Financial Reforms in Indonesia and Thailand

Teaching Methods

Lectures are given in almost every week and few DVDs would be used to deepen understandings of the concepts. Lectures will emphasize theoretical and conceptual aspects, but various cases of Asian countries would be used to show empirical application of concepts.


Class Presentation 15%
Two Short essays 20% x 2 =40%
(4-7pp including tables and references etc., double space, times new roman, 12 font preferred,)
Final Exam 35%
Attendance and Class Participation 10%
Short essays and final exam can be written in Japanese but presentation should be conducted in English.

Required Textbooks

・Lijphart, Arend. 2012. Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2nd Edition.

Reference Books

・Gandhi, Jennifer. 2008. Political Institutions under Dictatorship. New York: Cambridge University Press.
・Samuels, David J. and Matthew S. Shugart. 2010. Presidents, Parties, and Prime Ministers: How the Separation of Powers Affects Party Organization and Behavior. New York: Cambridge University Press.
・Kuhonta, Erik Martinez. 2011. The Institutional Imperative: The Politics of Equitable Development in Southeast Asia. Stanford University Press.
・Dayley, Robert A. and Clark D. Neher. 2013. Southeast Asia in the New International Era, 6th Edition. Boulder: Westview Press.

Miscellaneous Information

All reading assignments would be uploaded on CFIVE. By the time of which CFIVE is ready, next week's reading materials would be distributed. Contact me via e-mail (, if you have a question.

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