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A Game Theoretic Analysis of the Republic of China's Emerging Electoral System

Niou, Emerson M. S. and Ordeshook, Peter C. (1992) A Game Theoretic Analysis of the Republic of China's Emerging Electoral System. International Political Science Review, 13 (1). pp. 59-79. ISSN 0192-5121.

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Despite differences in history, culture, and stages of political development, the same theoretical constructs used to study American and European political processes can be used to understand the Republic of China's evolving electoral institutions and processes. The particular theoretical constructs upon which we focus are game theory and its application to electoral politics, spatial models of party competition. After reviewing the core results of spatial analysis - that electoral systems dominated by a single issue occasion stable and convergent party platforms and that systems with multiple salient issues occasion instability - we examine the types of issues that opposition parties are most likely to use in challenging KMT rule. Based on this discussion we argue that the ROC ought to be especially sensitive to Riker's conclusion that evolving democracies should devote special attention to developing institutional structures such as bicameralism and staggered terms of office for legislators that avoid the populist ideal of direct democracy. Theoretical results reveal the fragility of the idea of a popular will, so that populist institutions designed to achieve it can foster electoral instability. We use a recent result about multi-candidate elections to argue that the form of electoral competition and the forces operating to produce factionalism within parties are functions of the extent to which voters perceive electoral competition in terms of individual candidate characteristics versus party labels. To the extent that voters evaluate candidates on the basis of their party label, the parties will tend to converge on issues; whereas, to the extent that voters focus on the specific characteristics of candidates and their policy pronouncements, the candidates will diverge on issues. Finally, we examine the circumstances under which the nature of the issues that concern an electorate determines the form of competition in democracies characterized by a single dominant party.

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Additional Information:© 1992 International Political Science Association. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the conference on "Elections and Democratization in East Asia," Taipei, Taiwan (October 7-8, 1989), sponsored by the Institute for National Policy Research and the Asia Foundation. The authors also wish to thank the Pacific Culture Foundation for their support of this research.
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Pacific Culture FoundationUNSPECIFIED
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Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141205-112049585
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Official Citation:A Game Theoretic Analysis of the Republic of China's Emerging Electoral System Emerson M. S. Niou and Peter C. Ordeshook International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique, Vol. 13, No. 1, Applications of Political Theory in the Study of Politics. Applications de la théorie politique à l'étude du politique (Jan., 1992), pp. 59-79 Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd. Article Stable URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:52436
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:09 Dec 2014 22:43
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 07:42

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