Regular Issue

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Volume #7, Number #1

Published in June, 2003

This work aims at examining the contextual effects of “political empowerment” upon voting behavior in Taiwan. Different from the regional classifications developed in preceding literature (e.g., vote percentage of party or candidate, administrative boundary, degree of modernization, or divided and unified government), this research employs and modifies “empowerment theory” of the (ethnic/racial) minority politics to account for the shifting electoral fortunes of the Kuomingtang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). We take advantage of the 2001 Taiwan’s Election and Democratization Study (TEDS 2001) survey data and examine whether different empowerment areas exert significant impacts on voting behavior in the 2001 elections to the Legislative Yuan and county magistrates and city mayors. The methodology adopted in this study involves two steps. The first approach is the use of cross-tabulation analyses, and the second method employs the multinomial logit model in order to evaluate the simultaneous effects of independent variables on dependent variable. As hypothesized, the results indicate that the contextual effects of "political empowerment" still emerge as statistically significant for accounting voting choices even as party identifications and other explaining variables are taken into account. The findings demonstrate that constituents in high-DDP-empowerment areas—as indicated by control of the mayor’s/magistrate’s office—tend to vote for DPP candidates than those living in low-DDP-empowerment areas, and vice versa. In the conclusion, we review the major findings and limitations of this study and compare the research approaches of “empowerment theory” and “political geography.”

Chung-li Wu, Yin-yin Tan, Shih-hung Lee

In the wake of the emergence of Social Constructivism, the development of International Relations theory has entered into a new phase. Researchers often address the subject in terms of the historical evolution of theories with reference to the Great Debates since Classical Realism-vs.-Idealism. As such, Social Constructivism, often regarded as a recent import from sociological perspectives, is commonly differentiated from (Neo)Realism and Neoliberalism. Among them, Neoliberalism is often tantamount to “new institutionalism” in International Relations. Some analysts therefore concluded that Social Constructivism differs from New Institutionalism and even went further to maintain that the former transcends the latter in terms of the consistency of ontology and epistemology. From the perspective of New Institutionalism of Sociological and Organizational Analysis (SOA) branch, the common distinction between Social Constructivism and New Institutionalism in IR is problematic and deserves re-examination.

In this paper, it is argued from the SOA new institutionalist perspective that there is close linkage between Social Constructive in IR and SOA new institutionalism: both share certain commonalities and complements with each other. IR theorists may well clarify the types of new institutionalisms referred to when dealing with the relationships between new institutionalism and social constructivism. The linkage per se can also be demonstrated in the case of Beijing-Taipei diplomatic practices on "one China".

Der-yuan Wu

Abstract The civil service examination system in Taiwan differs significantly from those other developed nations. A centralized and independent Examination Yuan established by the constitution has indeed made a great contribution by establishing a generally open competition under an authoritarian regime and, most importantly, has prevented the emergence of a spoils or political patronage system of the type so often seen in developing countries.

Nonetheless, past successes should not lead us to ignore the many challenges that Taiwan’s civil service examination system now faces. This paper raises concerns stemming from the three major policy goals of selection: merit, organizational workforce needs and cost-effectiveness. With Taiwan’s government is facing more challenges from global competition, the civil service examination system has to emphasize the strategic human resource management function more than the prevention of political interference.

Therefore, this paper strongly suggests that the test validity and organizational workforce needs are two main goals that should drive the civil service examination system in the future. In particular, the Examination Yuan should consider reviving the certified lists system so that government agencies can play the major role in deciding whom to hire. In the new era, the Examination Yuan as an "independent" institution has to make civil service selection and public personnel policy that aligns with effective government human resource management. In the end, the civil service examination is not an end in itself. Rather it is simply an instrument for strengthening the ability of government to govern.

Jay N. Shih

The trade-conflict model claims that two parties, designated the “actor” and the “target”, protect their gains from trade by enhancing cooperation and decreasing conflict. This paper extends the trade-conflict model to garner implications concerning trade and conflict interactions where third parties are involved. The theoretical propositions supported by proofs are:(1) if the actor increases trade with a third-party who is a friend of the target, then the actor will reduce conflict towards the target; (2) if the actor increases trade with a third-party who is a rival of the target, then the actor will increase conflict towards the target. A 30-country sample from the Conflict and Peace Data Bank (COPDAB) is used and divided into three blocs, namely, a Western bloc, a Middle Eastern bloc, and an Eastern bloc, to represent the three parties. The empirical analysis supports the hypotheses. A similar relationship is also discussed and tested for situations in which conflict increases or decreases between the actor and the third-party bloc. In addition, the evidence shows that the Western bloc countries play a central role in world political and economic relationships.

Yuan-Ching Chang