Change and Continuity in Legislators’ Bill-Introduction Before and After the Reform of the Electoral System: An Exploratory Analysis





Published date: 

June, 2014


Shing-yuan Sheng


Taiwan’s electoral system was in June 2005 reformed from a mixedsystem of a multi-member district single non-transferable vote (SNTV)plus a closed-listed proportional representation system to a mixed systemof a single member district plural system plus a closed-listed PR system.Do legislators’ representative styles and behavior change because ofthe electoral reform? In this article, I focus on the bills introduced bylegislators from the Fifth to the Seventh Legislative Yuan (from February2002 to January 2012) to explore whether legislators change or continuetheir behavior of bill introduction. Several research findings are worthhighlighting. First, legislators under the new electoral system introduceeven more bills than those under the old system. The number of billsis about three times that of before. This shows that the new system has reinforced the tendency for the legislators to have the incentive to pursue a personal vote. Second, legislators under the new system have a greater incentive to introduce general interest bills. This reflects the fact thatlegislators under the new system have a motive for attracting more than50 percent of the voters so that they are motivated to propose generalinterest bills. This finding supports the median voter theorem: under a twocompetitorrace in a single member district plural system, competitors havethe incentive to take the position of the median voter. However, most billsintroduced by legislators have only 1 to 2 articles and most of them aresmall-scale amendments so that legislators do not have to spend too muchtime and resources. Therefore, the increasing number of bills proposed bylegislators does not mean that legislators are directing more efforts towardslegislation, nor does it mean that the quality of legislation is enhanced.