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Stephan Haggard

Director of the Korea-Pacific Program
UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy
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About Stephan Haggard

Stephan Haggard is a member of the Board of Directors at the Korea Economic Institute and the Lawrence and Sallye Krause Professor of Korea-Pacific Studies at UC San Diego. He also serves as the university’s director of the Korea-Pacific Program. He teaches courses on the international relations of the Asia-Pacific at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy covering political economy as well as security issues. He has done extensive research on North Korea in particular. In addition, he has a long-standing interest in transitions to and from democratic rule and the current phenomenon of democratic backsliding.

His most recent books include “Developmental States” (2018) on the rapid growth of East Asia. His work on North Korea includes three books with Marcus Noland: “Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid and Reform” (2007), “Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea” (2011) and “Hard Target: Sanctions, Inducements and the Case of North Korea” (2017). His work on transitions to and from democratic rule includes “Dictators and Democrats: Masses, Elites and Regime Change” (2016) and the forthcoming “Backsliding: Democratic Regress in the Contemporary World” (2020).

He has provided commentary for major news outlets, such as CNN International and currently writes for the Korea Economic Institute’s Peninsula blog. He is editor of the Journal of East Asian Studies.

Dr. Haggard received his doctorate in political science from UC Berkeley.

Korea’s democracy is clearly a success story. Along with Taiwan, it is one of the few Asian countries that transitioned to democratic rule in the 1980s and has sustained that trajectory without significant "backsliding" or reversion. Nonetheless, new concerns have emerged that Korean politics is becoming more polarized and thus vulnerable to the kinds of…

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Region: Asia

February 10, 2022

“[Kim Jong-un] stressed the need for the fishing industrial sector to conduct a work for catching more fish…” --From the report on the 4th Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the WPK This year, the summary of the recently-convened Party Plenum stood in for Kim Jong-un’s new year’s address. The report sought to…

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Region: Asia

January 10, 2022

A curious feature of advanced industrial states is anxiety about the future of democracy, not only abroad but at home as well. These worries—encapsulated in the concept of backsliding--have been particularly evident in the United States following the challenges posed by the Trump administration. The bruising fight over Brexit in Britain and the rise of…

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Region: Asia

January 6, 2022

In the last two posts, we have provided data on the share of military personnel in the Politburo and analyzed in more detail the diversity of military backgrounds, some tied to the weapons program, but others linked more clearly to the military-industrial complex, technology and internal security. Here, we consider several intepretations of these developments,…

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Region: Asia

September 15, 2021

Most analysis of the extended nuclear crisis that first broke in 2002 has focused, quite legitimately, on the realm of high politics: the diplomatic and military strategies of the contending…

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Region: Asia

October 6, 2016

Park Geun-hye’s Trustpolitik envisioned incremental, step-by-step exchanges, including economic ones, that would build trust. The strategy was disrupted by North Korean provocations during the first half of 2013 and had…

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Region: Asia

June 16, 2014

During the 1972 U.S. presidential campaign, “Deep Throat,” later revealed to be Associate Director Mark Felt of the FBI, counseled Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to “follow…

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Region: Asia