Regular Issue

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Volume #12, Number #1

Published in June, 2008

Why is corruption rife in some societies while it is seldom seen in others societies in East Asia? In the context of a neo-institutionalist framework, this study attempts to provide an empirical assessment of the source of corruption by using panel data for 11 East Asian economies over a 10-year period. Corruption is measured by the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which is developed by Transparency International (TI). Given that changes in the CPI exhibits strong time-dependent properties, the systematic general method of moments (systematic GMM) approach is introduced in the analysis in order to acquire more consistent and unbiased results. We find that in parallel with studies for other regions , authoritarianism and income inequality are first of all the most robust factors leading to political corruption in East Asia. Secondly, the interaction between regime-type and inequality illustrates that, in terms of corruption, democracy more easily suffers from inequality than authoritarianism. Finally, the stock of human capital measured by the enrolled rate of tertiary education tends to enhance the capacity of civil society to guard itself against corruption.

Thung-hong Lin, Han Jia

The concept of citizenship has become an increasingly important theme in technological and environmental debates. This paper introduces the theory of technological citizenship, examines the practice of citizenship in the context of the incinerator ash facility siting controversy in Ankeng, and highlights the current problems of environmental governance. The case shows the politics of experts and hegemony of scientific rationality, and the problem of constraints on the practice of citizenship. The environmental impact assessment process and decision-making lack a consideration of the total amount of endangerment and the recognition of local, contextualized knowledge and experiences. Local activists challenge the structure of power and legitimacy of the project, and fight for the rights of technological citizenship and the good life. This paper argues for the need to empower citizens to challenge the decision-making process dominated by technocracy and experts. Recognition of citizen knowledge and experiences as well as genuine dialogue among stakeholders will improve risk governance and facilitate the practice of citizenship.

Mei-Fang Fan

Taiwan has since the 1980s gone through a dramatic dual transformation, i.e., political democratization and economic liberalization. However, while the economic liberalization, such as market opening and privatization, has transformed Taiwan’s political economy in the 1990s, the political implications have seldom been noticed. I argue that the political logic of Taiwan’s economic liberalization in the 1990s is that, as in some other countries, many new opportunities and profits were distributed to politically powerful allies, thus helping the ruling party rebuild its coalition with capitalists. However, what made Taiwan’s case different from those of other countries is that the ruling party was the biggest winner as a result of the economic liberalization. It not only expanded its enormous party business by taking over the newly-liberalized resources, but was also able to further co-opt and patronize key business groups by using its unique political and market power.

Tieh-chih Chang

Survey researchers inevitably face the problem of item non-response; that is, some respondents provide valid answers to some questions, but provide invalid answers to others, such as “don’t know,” “no opinion,” or “hard to say.” However, including only those respondents who provide valid answers for each question may bias the estimates, because non-response does not occur randomly. This study applies a selection bias model to the problem of item non-response and tries to answer the following questions: in what situations might item non-response cause estimation bias, and in which ways might we correct for this bias?
By employing survey data collected by Taiwan’s Elections and Democratization Studies Project on the 2004 Presidential Election (TEDS 2004P), this research applies selection bias models to three topics of interest in the survey-vote choice, political efficacy, and position on the independence-unification issue. The research findings show that the vote choice model estimates may suffer from serious selection bias because non-respondents tended to be pan-blue voters and to vote for the pan-blue candidate. In the political efficacy model, non-respondents tended to be pan-green voters and also to have higher levels of political efficacy. Estimates for that model may therefore also suffer from selection bias. In the independence-unification issue model, by contrast, the factors affecting rates of item non-response were not systematically related to the respondents’ positions on the issue. Therefore, the model estimates do not suffer from selection bias. The research findings demonstrate that the seriousness of selection bias is not determined by the non-response rate per se, but rather by the degree to which response rates are systematically related to particular answers to a given survey question. The selection bias model can provide a satisfactory way to correct for estimation bias introduced by item non-response.

Shing-yuan Sheng , Ying-lung Chou

Transitional justice pertains to the challenge of reckoning with legacies of widespread or systematic abuses of human rights committed by agents of predecessor regimes. It has become a troubling political issue after a spectacular series of regime transitions in the late twentieth century, and the phrase ‘transitional justice’ today generally refers to a range of measures that new democracies implement to address the issue. There is a vast literature on the subject of transitional justice. However, the majority of research adopts the empirical approach and deliberately eschews the normative issues, and therefore questions concerning the nature of the wrongs that measures of transitional justice are meant to rectify as well as which measures we should adopt in order to adequately address this issue are not answered satisfactorily. In response to this absence of a coherent theory that can address both the past injustice and today’s needs to justify the pursuit of transitional justice, this article attempts to outline a normative theory of this kind by way of an interpretation of Isaiah Berlin’s value pluralism at the core of which is a tragic vision of politics. This theory understands the historical wrongs as a case of tragic value conflict and argues that if the same mistakes were to be avoided in today’s pursuit of transitional justice, we should take seriously the tragic experiences of both the alleged perpetrators and the victims. This value pluralistic theory of transitional justice is of significance to issues like civic education, the implementation of the rule of law and the re-writing of history in the newly-democratized societies. Furthermore, through this attempt this article also hopes to demonstrate that political philosophy is of valuable use to public affairs.

Hao Yeh