The Effects of Divided Government on Public Evaluations of City/County government Performance in Taiwan: A pilot Study





Published date: 

December, 2000


Chi Huang
Chung-li Wu


The phenomenon of divided government-that is, the executive and legislative branches are controlled by different political parties-has become daily reality in Taiwan’s notional and local politics. Yet it receives relatively little attention from a comparative perspective. In the literature, scholars tend to disagree with each other concerning whether divided government leads to policy gridlock, stalemate and inefficiency. This study attempts to shed some light on this important issue by exploring the effects of city/county-level divided government on local residents’ perception of their mayor/magistrate in Taiwan. We take advantage of a 1998 survey data set of the public’s evaluations of city/county government performance and examine if different forms of divided government affect residents’ responses. Our findings indicate that those residents in cities or counties under divided governments express more negative views only on three out of six indicators, although their party identification also seems to be an important intervening variable in shaping their opinion. It seems to imply that divided government at the local level does not necessarily suffer from stalemate between the executive and legislative branches.