The Impact of Upcoming Changes in the Electoral System on the Initiation Behavior of Pork Barrel related Bills from Legislators

Volume: 

13

Number: 

1

Published date: 

June, 2009

Authors: 

Ching-jyuhn Luor
Chien-liang Liao

Abstract: 

This paper explores the motives of legislators in seeking distributive
benefits for their districts. Based on the perspective of distributive theory,
the authors seek to determine whether the legislators of the Taiwan’s
6th Legislative Yuan are about to change their bill-initiation behavior,
compared with the legislators of the 5th Legislative Yuan, due to the
upcoming changes in the electoral system (i.e. to reduce members by 50%
and replace the SNTV by a single-member-district). The negative binomial
model is used to explore the factors that would affect the bill-initiation
behavior of legislators favoring distributive benefits for their districts.
The analyses of the negative binomial model reveal a significant
effect of district size on the initiation of distributive bills in the 5th
Legislative Yuan. The larger the district size is, the fewer the incentives
that the legislators have, to pursue distributive policy interests. However,
the statistical results do not exhibit a significant effect of district size on the
initiation of distributive bills in the 6th Legislative Yuan in the sense that
the discrepancies in terms of bill initiation among legislators from districts
of different sizes are reduced. To be specific speaking, compared with
the 5th Legislative Yuan, legislators who are from large districts in the 6th
Legislative Yuan tend to initiate more distributive bills. The same pattern
is also found among the 6th Legislators Yuan’s legislators who were elected
from medium-sized of districts. However, this is not true for the legislators of small districts. These findings imply that the impact of the upcoming
changes in the electoral system is more likely to be felt by the legislators
who are from larger districts as opposed to those from smaller ones.
In sum, this paper finds a significant effect of district size on the
legislators’ distributive bill-initiation behavior. It also finds that the impact
of the coming changes in the electoral system on legislative behavior is
already at work before it goes into effect. These findings have implications
for distributive politics in Taiwan.

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