Analyzing Three Dimensions of Political Trust inTaiwan: Politicians, Governments, andDemocracy





Published date: 

June, 2007


Chin-En Wu


This paper discusses political trust differences in three dimensions in Taiwan. Trust differences refer to people’s divergent trust attitudes toward politicians of different camps or their trust attitudes toward the executive and legislature branches under divided governments. Although trust differences are common in democracy, they constitute a more salient issue in Taiwan. The reason for this is mainly that, following the onset of democratization, divisions in national identity become the dominant theme in political competition. Such social cleavage induces people to mistrust political actors representing other ethnic groups, while making it easy for them to trust political actors within their own group. Hence, political trust differences are generated. Trust in one dimension is associated with trust in another dimension since parties form governments. Besides, who governs is likely to affect people’s evaluation of democracy and even democratic values. Those who vote for the Opposition wish to restrict the power of the ruling party, while voters who support the ruling party are against such a thought. In addition, this study also finds that people with firm opinions on Independence-Unification issues tend to embrace greater political trust differences. Empirical tests using surveys of the 1998 Legislative Yuan election and the 2003 TEDS support the theoretical predictions.