Regular Issue

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Volume #11, Number #2

Published in December, 2007

In the past, survey data analysis was used to explain how people decide their voting choices in local elections, together with qualitative methods including interviews, observations, and historical accounts. One of the main themes in the three-in-one local elections in 2005 was the extent to which voting choices in the three elections were correlated. This paper combines survey data and field interviews of local factions in order to explore voting behavior in Loh Tsui County. According to the TEDS 2005M data, we find that voters’ decisions regarding the magistrate were only influenced by their views on the councilors and their party identification. Field interviews, however, indicate that the candidates for magistrate, councilor and mayor did not cooperate in this election, which partly confirmed the findings based on the quantitative research. Loh-Tsui County was chosen because there is ample qualitative data of a high level of party competition. This paper suggests that the quantitative and qualitative studies may be mutually supportive of each other and blaze a new trail in local politics.

Chia-Hung Tsai , Chin-Shou Wang , Ding-Ming Wang

The Democratic Progressive Party won the 2000 presidential election in Taiwan and acquired the ruling power over the central government, while the Kuomintang still controlled maintained a majority in the Legislative Yuan. When there is divided government, since different political parties control the executive and legislative branches, the operation of party government is weakened, as the two political institutions are in conflict with each other. This certainly makes responsible and efficient government an unattainable goal. However, the question concerning the consequence of divided government—does the national economy have poorer performance under divided government?—remains contentious. This study examines the differences in macroeconomic performance between the 1992-2000 unified government and the 2000-2006 divided government by estimating the impacts of the political and economic determinants on Taiwan’s gross national product (GNP). The findings indicate that the variables of the government system, government expenditures, and interest rates have significant effects on Taiwan’s GNP. The evidence confirms the assumption that distinct forms of government can influence the efficiency of governance, i.e., divided government tends to result in policy gridlock and political stalemate between the executive and legislative branches and consequently this is likely to negatively affect macroeconomic performance, and vice versa. In concluding, the key findings are reviewed, the limitations of this study are outlined and suggestions are provided for future research.

Chung-Li Wu

Taiwanese Business Associations are widely expected to be strong organizations, regardless of whether these views are based on news sketches or theoretical models. Yet according to our investigation, such expectations turn out to be completely mistaken—Taiwanese Business Associations are in fact quite weak. What has gone, then? According to our fieldwork, we argue that it is the strong state and powerful networks together that make these voluntary associations powerless. To prove our hypothesis, we propose a framework that draws from the theory of social capital, political capital, and selective incentives-to demonstrate how an organization’s effectiveness will be determined by its institutional environment. By this study, hopefully, we may shed some light on the institutional origins of the weak associations in Chinese society.

Shu Keng, Rui-Hua Lin

This article explores different response styles by using two scales representing attitudes toward immigrants and reunion across the Taiwan Strait. Data were collected from a face-to-face survey – the 2003 Taiwan Social Change Survey. A response style index was first used to compare response style across scales. Exploratory Factor Analysis, Latent Class Factor Model-continuous indicators and Latent Class Factor Model-nominal indicators were then used to compare the response patterns (styles) of the nine attitudinal items. Multivariate analyses with and without including response styles were finally compared across the three factor analysis-type models.
The results based on the response style index exhibited a tendency toward a mild response style. The three types of models indicated that the Latent Class Factor Model-nominal indicators for four latent factors provided a better fit than the others, while two response styles were derived from this model – the middle response style and the extreme response style. Concerning social-demographics, males, the ethnic minority in Taiwan, those who identified themselves as high, middle, or low class, and those with less than a primary school or more than a college education tended to choose middle points among the answering scales. On the other hand, females, the ethnic minority in Taiwan, those with less than a junior high school education, those who considered themselves to be middle or high class, and those who were less than 29 or more than 60 years old tended to choose extreme response categories. In conclusion, the identification of response styles revealed that the association between attitudes and two characteristics, namely, gender and social class, could be spurious. In other words, response styles should not be neglected in the examination of the two attitudes demonstrated in this article.

Su-Hao Tu, Pei-Shan Liao

An indicator for the epidemic infection rate places social pressure on the Sustainable Development Indicators in Taiwan, for the issue of infection disease prevention involves a multiplicity of factors related to the environment, society, the economy, and institutions. From the aspect of public health, geographical medicine and environmental medicine, while a number of researchers have studied the relationship between an epidemic and the environment, few studies have focused on society and the community. The environmental justice perceptions of both citizens and government officers always affect sustainable development.
In terms of the judgment aspect, this research employs the Social Judgment Theory approach, and takes its cues from the dimensions of the environment, society, the economy and institutions to investigate citizens’ and government officers’ environmental justice perceptions in the KKP region in Taiwan. The main research findings are that the environmental dimension is the most important indicator, followed by the institutional dimension, then the social dimension, and finally the economic dimension. Following these findings, the aim of this research is therefore to establish the priority indicator on environmental justice, to understand and resolve the environmental injustice, and to promote the KKP region’s sustainable development.

Wen-Chun Chen , Chien-Ning Chen , Cheng-Liaou Chen