Erik Mobrand

Photo of Erik Mobrand
Korea Policy Chair; Senior Political Scientist
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in politics, Princeton University; M.A. in politics, Princeton University; B.A. in political science & international studies, University of Washington-Seattle Campus

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Erik Mobrand is Korea Policy Chair and a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He studies political transformation in Asia with Korea as a central reference point. Mobrand is the author of Top-Down Democracy in South Korea (University of Washington Press, 2019) and articles on topics including corruption, political parties, law and politics, criminality, gender and politics, management of cities, and Korean relations with Southeast Asia. In 2016, Mobrand joined Seoul National University as an associate professor in the Graduate School of International Studies. He previously served as assistant professor of political science at National University of Singapore. He received his Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University.

Selected Publications

Erik Mobrand, Top-Down Democracy in South Korea, University of Washington Press, 2019

Erik Mobrand, "Cynical and Celebratory Sensibilities in South Korea's 2022 Presidential Election," Pacific Affairs, 95(2), 2022

Erik Mobrand, "Prosecution Reform and the Politics of Faking Democracy in South Korea," Critical Asian Studies, 2021

Erik Mobrand, "More than Anti-communism: Electoral Politics and the Meanings of Democracy in Taiwan," Journal of Contemporary Asia, 2020

Erik Mobrand, "Developmental Citizenship, Symbolic Landscapes, and Transformation in China and South Korea," Citizenship Studies, 2020

Erik Mobrand "Authoritarian Legality after Authoritarianism: Legal Governance of Parties and Elections before and after Democratic Transition in South Korea," in Hualing FU and Weitseng CHEN, Authoritarian Legality in Asia, Cambridge University Press, 2020


Korean; Chinese

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Arirang News, Korea; france 24: international news 24/7


  • Political Reform Movements

    The Day Before the Revolution

    April 19 is synonymous in Korea with democracy. Mass demonstrations that day in 1960 led to the collapse of the increasingly corrupt Syngman Rhee government. Today, histories of Korea's democratization movement commemorate the April Revolution as the nation's first mass struggle for democracy.

    Apr 26, 2022

    Korea JoongAng Daily

  • South Korea

    What the Media Might Have Missed About South Korea's Elections

    The toxicity of the anti-feminist discourse in South Korea does not accurately reflect the gender-related tensions and problems that most Koreans currently face. The obstacles to improving gender equity are more mundane and more ubiquitous than the hyperbole of anti-feminism suggests.

    Mar 10, 2022

    The RAND Blog