Identifying the Dynamics Underlying Mass Choices on Taiwan's Future





Published date: 

December, 1998


Yung-ming Hsu
Ming-tong Chen


To elaborate the dynamics of the general mass attitudes in Taiwan toward the Unification-Independence issue, we explore both aggregate group behavior and individual level heterogeneity by converting consecutive cross-sectional data into a time-dependence structure. Apart from the current static models, these pseudo-panel analyses identify the relations between Elites' Rhetoric and the formation of mass choices on Taiwan's future. Of modeling efforts, education and ethnicity variables are included in both static and dynamic models to statistically estimate their respective significance, their political impacts, and changing pace. In particular, declining significance of ethnicity in dynamic behavior tends to signal the emerging importance of political knowledge in understanding political learning game. In light of rational Bayesian updating, preference revelation is defined as political processes through which mass learn to adjust with competing messages as well as limited information transmissions. In addition to unraveling underlying historical dynamics, we argue that individual uncertainty on this issue not only determines the results of reporting preference, but also reshapes the rationality of political persuasion in this newly democratic polity.