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How Rules Matter: Electoral Reform in Taiwan


  • *Direct correspondence to Hans Stockton, Center for International Studies, University of St. Thomas, 3800 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX 77006 〈〉. The author agrees to share data and coding information for replication purposes. This research was partially funded by a grant from the Ministry of Education, Republic of China. The author thanks Sharon Wang and Kou-chu Yang for invaluable assistance and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


Objectives. This article is a test of general electoral theory in the case of Taiwan's 2008, postreform legislative election. In light of Taiwan's electoral reform, I test several hypotheses related to choice in electoral design and winning conditions, effective number of parties, proportionality, and regionalism.

Methods. I run a simulation of the new rules and districting using the previous (2004) election results and compare this to the actual results. By comparing simulated and actual outcomes, I can compare theoretically-driven, a priori expectations with election outcomes.

Results. Primary findings are that a dominant seat share for the Nationalist Party, decline in third-party representation, and disproportionality were largely predicated on the transition to a majoritarian system.

Conclusion. General electoral theory holds robust predictive power in the case of Taiwan.