Impact evaluations in South Korea and China

Haeil Jung, Ruodan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


While evidence-based policy-making is increasingly in demand, as new policies are required to bring effective results to targeted groups in South Korea and China, few studies have investigated the progress of quantitative impact evaluation that focuses on causality. This paper studies the trends of quantitative impact evaluation of public policy in South Korea and China by surveying major public administration and public policy journals in these two countries from 2000 to 2015. Among published articles in the major journals, our study pool includes research articles directly related to quantitative impact evaluation. Our study found that there has been considerable progress in impact evaluation research in South Korea and China in both data quality and empirical methods. However, empirical impact evaluation still comprises a small fraction (only one to two percent) of all research in public administration and public policy in both countries. We also found limited discussion on the selection mechanism and related bias in South Korea even in recent years, while causality and selection bias have been more commonly discussed in China. Also, advanced empirical methods are more frequently observed in journal articles in China than those in South Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-349
Number of pages22
JournalAsian Journal of Political Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Specifically, in South Korea, KPAR is the official journal of the Korean Association for Public Administration (KAPA), which was established in 1956, and has been the largest and most prominent association in the field of public administration in South Korea. KPAR, the quarterly journal of KAPA, was first published in 1967 and has ranked the highest among journals indexed by the National Research Foundation of Korea. KPSR, first published in 1992, is the official journal of the KAPS, which was established in 1992 in response to an urgent call to organize an association to react to the development of new research focusing on policies in the Korean society. KPSR has been among the highest ranked journals indexed by the National Research Foundation of Korea. Korean Journal of Policy Analysis and Evaluation (KJPAE) is the official journal of the KAPAE, which was first established in 1991 and has organized research and studies in the field of public policy analysis and evaluation. KJPAE, the quarterly journal of KAPAE, was first published in 1991 and has been one of the top journals indexed by the National Research Foundation of Korea.

Funding Information:
Such progress in impact evaluation research in both countries can be explained by progress in the governmental role in the policy process. The democratic progress in South Korea during the 1990s has led to the needs for government transparency and responsiveness to the citizens (Kwon, 2014). As a result, the executive branch of the Korean government, including the President, has been reaching out to citizens and civic organizations to initiate new policies. In this bottom-up policy process, the importance of micro-data was acknowledged. During the 2000s, government agencies and research centres funded by the government started micro-data collection through nationwide surveys. For example, since 2006, the Korean Welfare Panel Study (KOWEPS) has been developed and collected by the Korean Institute of Social and Health Affairs and the Korean Longitudinal Survey of Women and Families (KLoWF) has been collected by the Korean Women’s Development Institute, a research arm of the Prime Minister’s Office. Taking advantage of this progress in data availability and quality, the new wave of researchers who studied causal impact evaluation domestically and abroad have introduced the rigorous research designs and advanced empirical methods across various policy areas.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Causality
  • Impact Evaluations
  • Natural Experiments
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Social Experiments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact evaluations in South Korea and China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this