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Analyzing the 2004 US General Social Survey and Korean General Social Survey, this paper attempts to show that even similar climates of associationalism in two countries can lead to differential consequences for participatory democracy, depending on the associations’capacities to foster civic resources. This paper first examines whether the politically desirable traits of civic virtue and social trust essential to political participation can be developed by associational membership in the United States and Korea. Second, it investigates whether associational membership strengthens, weakens, or leaves unchanged the effects of socioeconomic resources measured by educational attainment and family income on political participation especially among association members in these two countries. The results indicate that voluntary associations in the United States, compared to those in Korea, do a better job of playing the role of civic educator and even of political equalizer. First,associational membership significantly and positively affects civic virtue and social trust in the United States. Second, associational membership does not affect civic virtue and social trust in Korea. Third, the effects of educational attainment and family income on political participation among members are weak in the United States. Fourth, the effects of educational attainment and family income on political participation among members are strong in Korea. Therefore,this paper concludes that voluntary associations do not contribute to participatory equality in Korea despite its vibrant group-centered culture, whereas their American counterparts are relatively effective in bringing about the expected outcome.