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Volume #10, Number #2

Published in December, 2006

On April 24th 2003, Taipei Municipal Heping Hospital, where the first Taiwanese SARS (serious acute respiration syndrome) hospital infection occurred, was shut down abruptly to halt the outbreak of SARS infections in Taiwan. Being compelled to work and without necessary protection against SARS, some hospital staff broke the quarantine order by getting through the blockade. Based on the right to life, this research investigates the social construction of the medical professionals’ disobedience, with the intention of evaluating the operation of the state’s emergency health powers.

In the light of critical debates on civil disobedience together with some interview data about those directly involved in the Heping case, we explore the reasons, the right to life mainly, for the healthcare workers’ acting in self-defense, with a concern about the lack of an adequate quarantining policy to protect those quarantined insiders. The social right meanings of “occupational health and safety” and “public health” are addressed in an attempt to explore the “conflict” between them in the case under consideration. The discussion also draws upon John Rawls’s (1971) argument on the justification for civil disobedience, leading to supplementing Rawls’ brief assertion relating to the so-called “extreme conditions”.

We argue that Taiwanese public health policy-making represents a dictatorial regime relying on experts, in that the values of front-line medical workers and hospitalized patients are by and large excluded in the formation of the nation's epidemic prevention and control measures. Thus, the effects of the state's regulation have detracted significantly from the resistance of the medical professionals in the Heping case.

Yu-Feng Wong, Su-Fen You

To measure party positions should be a theory-guided empirical research, even though it is only about to measure a variable. This research starts with explaining why approach and theories are important to the selection of variables and how to measure them. Secondly, the content analysis developed by Manifesto Research Group (MRG) and a variety of obtrusive methods of measurements are introduced, including what they are and their advantages and disadvantages. Thirdly, the Taiwanese parties’ positions on Taiwan Independence, Left-Right Dimension, and Environmental Protection and Economy Growth are measured by the MRG methods with party manifestos and electoral gazettes. Besides, expert surveys and mass surveys are used as a supplement. The measures from content analysis are compared with that from surveys in order to assure the validity of the data. The results show that party positions measured by content analysis and surveys are similar. Therefore, because of its solid theory, public and replicable coding procedure, and acceptable reliability and validity, the method of measuring party positions developed by MRG provides quality data of party positions.

Tsung-Wei Liu

The incumbents in a democracy tend to manipulate the economy by adopting expansionary fiscal policy to stimulate short-run expansion during electoral periods. By doing so, the macroeconomic performance is affected by the election and it is so called the political business cycle. In order to test whether policy instruments are affected by the election or not, this paper focuses on the electoral and partisan cycles in local budgets in Taiwan Province between 1988 and 2003. More specifically, we try to explore the scenario of political business cycle at local governments.

The result shows that local governments’ annual budgets do expand during the electoral years, which is corresponding to the theory of opportunistic political business cycle. On the other hand, we do not find the evidence to support the partisan political business cycle theory, since different incumbent parties have similar decision making for their budget during elections. Furthermore, we find a significant lag impact on the current budget setting. Finally, the empirical result reveals that local governments’ budgets and expenditures expand during James Soong as a Chairman and Governor of Taiwan Provincial Government.

Ding-Ming Wang, Fu-Yao Chan

Electoral accountability refers to the mechanism that people are able to use their votes to award or punish incumbent governments based on their policy outcomes and political performance. Conventional studies focusing on electoral accountability in Latin America mainly address the relations between governments’ economic performance and incumbents’ vote share. However, their conclusions are diverse. We argue that this problem might be due to mistaking levels of analyses, incomplete datasets, mistakes in model selection, and ignoring the influence from political contexts. To deal with these problems, in this paper, we collect electoral results and economic indicators from 28 Latin American democracies. Then, by applying the mixed effects model, we introduce political contexts into my empirical analysis and control them as fixed effects. The statistical results prove that electoral accountability does exist in Latin American democracies. The results also show that political contexts influence electoral accountability. Whenever an incumbent government owns a supermajority in a legislature, it will be highly accountable for its electorate. Finally, this paper also finds that in contrast to their counterparts in parliamentary democracies, governments in presidential democracies are more accountable to their voters for their economic performance.

Alex C. Chang, Yu-Tzung Chang

The construction of theories about migration has long been the goal of scholars from the disciplines of economics, demography, and sociology. Theories aimed at explaining ‘why the phenomena of international migration occur,’ ‘why individuals make the choice of migrating,’ and ‘why the flows of migration fluctuate the way they do’ have tremendously improved our understanding of migration. The political and policy aspects of international migration, however, had largely been neglected until political scientists turned their attention to migration studies more recently. The questions political scientists are interested in include ‘if and how migration policies affect the flow of migration’ and ‘what factors contribute to migration policy output.’ Against the background of the recent call to ‘bring the state back in’ in migration studies, this article delineates the development of migration studies within different disciplines and assesses the contributions by political scientists in the construction of migration theories.

Chien-Yi Lu