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Conflict Displacement and Regime Transition in Taiwan: A Spatial Analysis

  • Tse-Min Lin, Yun-Han Chu and Melvin J. Hinich (a1) (a2) (a1)


This paper presents a spatial analysis of political competition in Taiwan in an effort to explore the role of conflict displacement in the process of democratic transition. In recent elections, a new cleavage on socioeconomic justice has emerged as a salient political issue in Taiwan, crosscutting the traditional cleavage on national identity. The authors first trace the historical trajectory of regime transition in order to provide a structural explanation of such a displacement of conflicts. Using data from the 1992 General Survey on Social Changes designed primarily by the authors for the Institute of Ethnology of Academia Sinica, they then present the results of a spatial analysis. The empirical findings confirm that socioeconomic justice together with national identity are the defining dimensions of the latent ideological space in which political competition takes place. The authors argue that, because of the availability of the new issue, political elites in Taiwan are undertaking a partisan realignment in both electoral and legislative politics, a process the authors consider conducive to both the transition to democracy and the consolidation of the new regime.



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1 O'Donnell, Guillermo and Schmitter, Philippe, “Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies,” in O'Donnell, Guillermo, Schmitter, Philippe, and Whitehead, Lawrence, eds., Transition from Authoritarian Rule: Prospects for Democracy, pt. 4 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986); Przeworski, Adam, Democracy and the Market (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Huntington, Samuel P., The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991).

2 For how agendas influence political choices in various contexts, see Riker, William H., ed., Agenda Formation (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993).

3 For an extensive comparison of political and economic reforms in Latin America and Eastern Europe, see Przeworski (fn. 1).

4 See Diamond, Larry and Plattner, Marc, eds., Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict and Democracy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994).

5 For instance, O'Donnell and Schmitter (fn. 1); Terry L. Karl and Philippe Schmitter, “Modes of Transition and Types of Democracy in Latin America, Southern and Eastern Europe” (Manuscript, Stanford University, 1990); Przeworski (fn. 1); Higley, John and Gunther, Richard, eds., Elites and Democratic Consolidation in Latin America and Southern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Mainwaring, Scott, O'Donnell, Guillermo, and Valenzuela, J. Samuel, eds., Issues in Democratic Consolidation: The New South American Democracies in Comparative Perspective (Notre Dame, Ind.: versity of Notre Dame Press, 1992); Przeworski, Adam et al. , Sustainable Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

6 For example, Karl and Schmitter (fn. 5) emphasize that transition to democracy typically requires a bargain of “fundamental pacts” among the contending organized elites and the resultant reinstitution, adoption, or drafting of a constitution. On different paths to democratic consolidation, Michael Burton, Richard Gunther, and John Higley suggest that “settlements” and “convergence” are two principal forms in which elite disunity can be transformed into consensual unity. See Burton, Gunther, and Higley, “Introduction: Elites and Democratic Consolidation,” in Higley and Gunther (fn. 5). More recently, Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan have proposed that the condition of democratic consolidation involves three dimensions: behavioral, attitudinal, and constitutional. According to Linz and Stepan, a democratic regime is consolidated when, behaviorally, no significant political actors seriously attempt to overthrow the democratic regime or encourage domestic or international violence to secede from the state; attitudinally, a strong majority of the public believe that any further political change must emerge from within the parameters of democratic formula even in the face of severe political and economic crises; and constitutionally, all the actors in the polity become habituated to the resolution of conflict according to the specific laws, procedures, and institutions sanctioned by the new democratic process. See Linz and Stepan, “Towards Consolidated Democracies: Five Arenas and Three Sur-mountable Obstacles” (Paper delivered at Consolidating the Third Wave Democracies: Trends and Challenges, an international conference cosponsored by the Institute for National Policy Research and the National Endowment for Democracy, Taipei, August 27–30, 1995). In our view, all three formulations lack a theoretical foundation that can account for the “change of heart” on the part of the elites in making pacts, reaching settlements, and/or changing behavior.

7 Sartori, Giovanni, The Theory of Democracy Revisited, pt. 1 (Chatham, N.J.: Chatham House, 1987).

8 Enelow, James M. and Hinich, Melvin J., The Spatial Theory of Voting: An Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).

9 For an analysis of the enabling conditions and the triggering factors for the transition from authoritarianism in Taiwan, see Cheng, Tun-jen, “Democratizing the Quasi-Leninist Regime in Taiwan,” World Politics 42 (July 1989); and Chu, Yun-han, Crafting Democracy in Taiwan (Taipei: Institute for National Policy Research, 1992).

10 See Haggard, Stephan, Pathway from the Periphery (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1990); and Gereffi, Gary and Wyman, Donald L., eds., Paths of Industrialization in Latin America and East Asia (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).

11 The One-China Principle maintains that there is only one China, Taiwan is a part of China, and the government of the Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China.

12 See Donald L. Horowitz, “Democracy in Divided Societies,” in Diamond and Plattner (fn. 4).

13 As Eric J. Hobsbawn reminds us, in modern history it is the state that makes the nation, and not the nation that makes the state. See Hobsbawn, , Nations and Nationalism since 1780 (London: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 44.

14 The Tangwai, which literally means “outside the Party,” is the code name for the opposition camp before the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party in 1986.

15 Hu, Fu and Chu, Yun-han, “Electoral Competition and Political Democratization in Taiwan,” in Cheng, Tun-jen and Haggard, Stephan, eds., Political Change in Taiwan (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rien-ner, 1991).

16 About mid-1991 the arrest of four college students on charges of sedition sparked a series of large-scale popular demonstrations. Student leaders and some leading intellectuals called for repealing the stringent article on treason and sedition, known as Article 100, of the Criminal Code. Lee capitalized on the event by instructing the Executive Yuan to set up a task force to review various proposals for revising it. This judicious move eventually led to a revamping of Article 100 a year later. The revision removed from the article all those ambiguities that had given the security and law-enforcement personnel wide leeway in charging people with serious crimes. See China Times, May 10,1993.

17 Krongkaew, Medhi “Income Distribution in East Asian Developing Countries: An Update,” Asian Pacific Economic Literature 8 (November 1994).

18 On the corruption in electoral politics, see Chen, Ming-tong and Chu, Yun-han, “Quyuduzhan Jingji, Difang Paixi yu Shengyiyuan Xuanju: Yixiang Shengyiyuan Houxuanren Beijing de Fenxi” (Regional oligopoly, local factions, and provincial assembly elections: An analysis of the socioeconomic background of candidates, 1950–1986), National Science Council Proceedings-C: Social Sciences and Humanity 3 (January 1992).

19 Chu, Yun-han, “The Realignment of State-Business Relations in Taiwan's Regime Transition,” in McIntyre, Andrew, ed., The Changing Government-Business Relations in the Pacific Rim Countries (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1994).

20 Schattschneider, E. E., The Semisovereign People (Hinsdale, Ill.: Dryden Press, 1975).

21 Field, Lowell, Higley, John, and Burton, Michael G., “A New Elite Framework for Political Sociology,” Revue Eumpéenne des Sciences Sociales 28, no. 88 (1990), 164.

22 The only work we are aware of that uses the spatial-analytic framework to study electoral competition in Taiwan is Emerson Niou, M. S. and Ordeshook, Peter C. “A Game Theoretic Analysis of the Republic of China's Emerging Electoral System,” International Political Science Review 13, no. 1 (1992).

23 The survey itself is part of a multiyear project funded by the National Science Council of the Republic of China and covers the period between 1989 and 1994. Our Taiwan-based coauthor, Yun-han Chu, is the codirector of the project and concurrently serves as the coordinator of the political science section.

24 Missing values in the valence items are not a problem since, in the version of the Cahoon program (see Appendix 1) that we use, the mean valence scores, rather than the individual scores, are entered as part of the program input.

25 Enelow and Hinich (fn. 8).

26 For a discussion of the consequences of measurement error in multiple regression, see Berry, William D. and Feldman, Stanley, Multiple Regression in Practice (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage, 1985).

27 Bollen, Kenneth A., Structural Equations with Latent Variables (New York: John Wiley, 1989), 162-63.

28 Note that we are able to make inferences about the effects of age and social class because neither is causally related to national identity. For those demographic variables known to have an impact on the first dimension, the corresponding coefficients are inconsistent, and no statistical inference can be made about their effects.

29 The New Party actually cast the decisive vote in this case to save the KMT from an embarrassing defeat. For the roll-call records of the aforementioned bills, see Lifayuan Gongbao (various issues, 1993–94).

30 As a symbolic gesture, Mayor Chen attended the annual flag-raising ceremony at dawn on New Year's Day 1995.

31 China Times, September 15, 1995, p. 2.

32 Enelow and Hinich (fn. 8).

33 Cahoon, Lawrence S., “Locating a Set of Points Using Range Information Only” (Ph.D. diss., Carnegie-Mellon University, 1975); Cahoon, Lawrence S. and Hinich, Melvin J., “A Method for Locating Targets Using Range Only,” IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, vol. 11–22 (March 1976).

34 In this study, we use the squared Euclidean distance as a measure of proximity. The methodology of spatial analysis, however, can accommodate other types of distance.

35 The program, originally developed by Lawrence S. Cahoon, is available upon request from Tse-min Lin, the primary author.

36 Cahoon, Lawrence S., Hinich, Melvin J., and Ordeshook, Peter C., “A Statistical Multidimensional Scaling Method Based on the Spatial Theory of Voting,” in Wang, P. C., ed., Graphical Representation of Multivariate Data (New York: Academic Press, 1978).

* An earlier version of this paper was delivered at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, D.C., September 2–5, 1993. Support for this project was provided by the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. We thank Tong-yi Huang and Fujia Lu for research assistance and Henry Dietz, Jay Dow, Nathalie Frensley, Emerson Niou, Peter C. Ordeshook, and Wade Riddick for helpful comments and advice.

Conflict Displacement and Regime Transition in Taiwan: A Spatial Analysis

  • Tse-Min Lin, Yun-Han Chu and Melvin J. Hinich (a1) (a2) (a1)


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