Effects of Electoral System Change on Voter Turnout: The Case of Legislative Elections in Taiwan





Published date: 

六月, 2018


Chi Huang
Kah-yew Lim


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.