Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jennifer Taw

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© 2014 Hyo Sung Joo


This thesis evaluates the effects of compulsory military service in South Korea on the political behavior of men from a public policy standpoint. I take an institutional point of view on conscription, in that conscription forces the military to accept individuals with minimal screening. Given the distinct set of values embodied by the military, I hypothesize that the military would need a powerful, comprehensive, and fast program of indoctrination to re-socialize civilians into military uniform, trustable enough to be entrusted with a gun or a confidential document. Based on the existence of such a program and related academic literature, I go on to look at how a military attitude has political implications, especially for the security-environment of the Korean peninsula. Given the ideological nature of the inter-Korean conflict, the South Korean military was biased against the liberals, as liberals were most likely to generate policies supporting conciliatory and cooperative measures towards North Korea, like the removal of U.S. forces from South Korea and the repeal of the National Security Laws that outlaw discussion of communism. For an empirical evaluation, I pose the hypothesis that this political bias would manifest itself in the male public via the military’s indoctrinative program. With data from the Korean General Social Survey, the Public Opinion and Foreign Policy, and the South Korean General Election Panel Study, I have found that males respond acutely to specific security issues in favor or against according to the military’s point of view. However, the evidence for an overall bias on political parties generally was inconclusive. The uncertainty was mainly rooted in the fact that liberal parties have strategically avoided speaking out on specific policy issues during election.