It is widely believed that political participation is required for democracies to function. This is troublesome, as scholars have provided alarming evidence that political participation and engagement with politics are steadily declining in many democratic countries today. While declining levels of participation in politics may be due to institutional level variables, there are also individual level considerations that impact the degree to which citizens care to participate in political life. One of these factors may be voluntary civic association, which has been cited by many scholars as providing the requisite civic education, social connectedness, and opportunities to participate in politics that leads to integration into the political system and political participation. Since few studies of this phenomenon have been undertaken in Asia, this article examines the influence of civic group involvement on political participation and engagement in five Asian Countries: South Korea, Taiwan, India, Bangladesh and the Philippines at the individual－level of analysis. Using the World Values Survey (1995－1998), findings suggest that civic group membership is a very strong predictor of political participation and engagement in Asia. Specifically, political party membership is the strongest and most consistent predictor of political engagement. These results have implications for how scholars view the role of voluntary civic association in Asia, in particular South Korea and Bangladesh, where this relationship is quite robust.
Ⅱ. Civic Groups and Political Participation
Ⅲ. Data and Analysis
Ⅴ. Conclusion and Discussion