Regular Issue

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Volume #22, Number #1

Published in June, 2018

For a long time, scholars both at home and abroad have paid close attention to the effect of electoral systems on voter turnout. However, the effect of these changes in the electoral system on participation in voting has not been conclusive. This study investigates the influence of electoral reforms on voter turnout by analyzing legislative elections in Taiwan. We first adopted a quasi-experiment design with township councilors as the control group to assess the effect of electoral reforms on voter turnout. Then we used panel data from the TEDS2008L to analyze the stability and changes in voting participation for the same voters under different electoral systems.

The research results show that electoral system changes did not significantly influence the turnout rate but  significantly affected the stability and changes in the voting behavior of individual voters. As regards the willingness to vote, those who considered the new electoral system to be more discouraging for voting compared to the old electoral system, as well as small-party supporters, had a higher probability of deciding not to vote under the new electoral system. We hold that the aforementioned analysis at the macro and micro levels can help us to understand more about the effect of system changes on the turnout rate and voting behavior of individual voters.

Chi Huang, Kah-yew Lim

A significant influence of Hume’s political philosophy lies in his developing a foundation based on passions and human nature for men’s political and moral spheres, in the trend of secularization that characterized the Age of Enlightenment. In this philosophical project known as ethical naturalism, although Hume is famous for treating reason as subordinate to the passions, his elaboration of the passions as found in the second book of the Treatise has long been undervalued by Hume scholars. The purpose of this article is to contest this account of Hume by revealing the contribution of  Hume’s theory of the passions to his political philosophy. In this dimension of Hume’s thought, we find that he establishes the social order based on man’s care regarding the opinions of others. More than securing the social order, the force of opinion still shapes the moral character and the value systems of each nation. However, when faced with the differences between each nation’s culture and values, Hume indicates that the principle of utility, which he derives inductively from human history and experience, may well be used to reconcile conflicting values, and to secure a basis for
moral deliberation.

Chien-kang Chen

This study empirically investigates the spatial heterogeneity of the association between e-governance and the control of corruption by utilizing a geographically weighted regression (GWR). The results from using OLS reveal that e-government and e-participation are powerful tools in reducing corruption globally. In addition, the results of the GWR show that spatial heterogeneity exists among the different models (e-government and e-participation), and that the GWR provides better insight into the association between e-governance and the control of corruption. It can thus serve as a useful instrument in studies on corruption.

Hsin-chung Liao

This article is designed to assess whether husbands and wives have similar political attitudes in Taiwan. A telephone survey was conducted in June 2011, and a nationally representative sample was obtained with 354 pairs of husbands and wives being successfully interviewed. This paired survey data set was then analyzed to examine whether there existed a gender gap with regard to how people respond to suvery questions on political issues. Furthermore, the observed similarity between husbands and wives was explained by the couples' marital characteristics that mainly focused on their frequencies and intensity of interactions as well as their ethnic background and educational attainment, which represented the lasting effect of early political socialization. It was found that couples in Taiwan have a certain amount of agreement in regard to their political attitudes. It was also found that ethnic background and discussions about politics between husbands and wives are positively related to spousal similarity in political attitudes. It was therefore concluded that although spousal similarity is shaped by both pre-marital as well as post-marital factors, most of the observed similarity already existed before marriage.

Kuang-hui Chen

This study incorporates the Big Five personality traits into the rational choice theory to explain individual political participation. It argues that three factors in the rational choice framework – selfefficacy belief, perceived benefits and civic duty – play a pivotal role in mediating the relationships between personality traits and political participation. In accordance with previous research, this study finds that extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience exhibit  significant direct impacts on political participation. More importantly, the Big Five personality traits apart from agreeableness also exert significant positive indirect effects on political participation through self-efficacy belief, perceived benefits and civic duty. To sum up, this study provides new insights into the relationships between personality traits and political behavior and shows that dispositional traits can play some role in the rational choice framework to account for individual political participation.

Ching-hsing Wang, Marwa M. Shalaby