Studies on Taiwan’s Democracy and Democratisation

in International Journal of Taiwan Studies
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


Throughout its long democratic transition and two decades of democratic functioning, Taiwan’s political development has attracted attention from many political scientists. This review of recent scholarship finds that while some works suffer from political bias, there is no shortage of high-quality academic work on this topic. Well-crafted assessments of Taiwan’s democratic performance vary in their conclusions, but critical assessments outnumber laudatory ones. Topics that have attracted especially strong attention from scholars include Taiwan’s constitutional development (with the verdict that the island is ill-served by a pattern of politically motivated constitutional changes) and electoral reform (which is judged to have strengthened the two-party system). Finally, the paper identifies and categorises works that compare Taiwan to other new democracies and summarises work on how Taiwan’s democracy is perceived by the island’s public.



Batto Nathan F. (2009) ‘Change and continuity in the personal vote after electoral reform in Taiwan’, Issues and Studies 45(2): 99123.

Bush Richard (2016) ‘The 2016 election and prospects for Taiwan’s democracy’, Orbis 60(4): 473487.

Chang Yu-tzung and Chu Yun-han (2008) ‘How citizens view Taiwan’s new democracy’, in Chu Yun-han , Diamond Larry , Nathan Andrew , and Shin Doh Chull (eds), How East Asians View Democracy , New York: Columbia University Press, 83113.

Chang Yu-tzung ; Zhu Yunhan , and Pak Chong-min (2007) ‘Authoritarian nostalgia in Asia’, Journal of Democracy 18(3): 6680.

Cheng Tun-jen and Chou Tein-chen (2000) ‘Informal politics in Taiwan’, in Dittmer Lowell , Fukui Haruhiro , and Lee Peter (eds), Informal Politics in East Asia, New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 4265.

Chu Yun-han and Huang Min-hua (2010) ‘Solving an Asian puzzle’, Journal of Democracy 21(4): 114122.

Copper John F. (2009) ‘The devolution of Taiwan’s democracy during the Chen Shui-bian era’, Journal of Contemporary China 18(60): 463478.

Croissant Aurel (2004) ‘From transition to defective democracy: Mapping Asian democratization’, Democratization 11(5): 156178.

DeLisle Jacques (2004) ‘Reforming/replacing the roc constitution: Implications for Taiwan’s state (−like) status and u.s. policy’, Asia Program Special Report No. 125 (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars).

Fell Dafydd (2007) ‘Partisan issue competition in contemporary Taiwan: Is Taiwan’s democracy dead?’, Chinese History and Society 32. Retrieved from

Fell Dafydd (2010) ‘Taiwan’s democracy: Toward a liberal democracy or authoritarianism?’, Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 39(2): 199200.

Fell Dafydd (2012) Government and Politics in Taiwan , London: Routledge.

Fell Dafydd (2016) ‘Small parties in Taiwan’s 2016 national elections: A limited breakthrough?’, American Journal of Chinese Studies 23(4): 4158.

Fell Dafydd and Peng Yen-wen (2016) ‘The electoral fortunes of Taiwan’s Green Party, 1996–2012’, Japanese Journal of Political Science 17(1): 6883.

Fell Dafydd and Peng Yen-wen (2017) ‘The revival of Taiwan’s Green Party after 2008’, in Fell Dafydd (ed), Taiwan’s Social Movements Under Ma Ying-jeou: From the Wild Strawberries to the Sunflowers , London: Routledge, 177198.

Ginsburg Tom (2006) ‘Constitutional choices in Taiwan: Implications of global trends’, Illinois Public Law and Legal Theory Research Papers Series, Research Paper No. 06–01. Available at

Goebel Christian (2012) ‘The impact of electoral system reform on Taiwan’s local factions’, Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 41(3): 6992.

Hellmann Olli (2011) Political Parties and Electoral Strategy: The Development of Party Organization in East Asia, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hellmann Olli (2014) ‘Electoral reform in Asia: Institutional engineering against “money politics”’, Japanese Journal of Political Science 15(2): 275298.

Hicken Allen and Kuhonta Erik Martinez (2014) Party System Institutionalization in Asia: Democracies, Autocracies, and the Shadows of the Past , New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hsieh John Fuh-sheng (2006) ‘Institutional design for a mildly divided society: The case of Taiwan’, Issues and Studies 42(1): 81102.

Hsieh John Fuh-sheng (2009) ‘The origins and consequences of electoral reform in Taiwan’, Issues and Studies 45(2): 122.

Hsiung James C. (2017) ‘What the 2016 elections revealed regarding Taiwan’s politics, as seen in democratic theory’, Asian Affairs: An American Review 44(1): 18.

Hughes Christopher R. (2011) ‘Negotiating national identity in Taiwan: Between nativisation and de-sinicisation’, in Ash Robert , Garver John W. , and Prime Penelope (eds), Taiwan’s Democracy: Economic and Political Challenges , London: Routledge, 5174.

Jacobs J. Bruce (2013) ‘Whither Taiwanization? The colonization, democratization and Taiwanization of Taiwan’, Japanese Journal of Political Science 14(4): 567586.

Jou Willy (2009) ‘Electoral reform and party system development in Japan and Taiwan: A comparative study’, Asian Survey 49(5): 759785.

Krauss Ellis S. and Pekkanen Robert (2004) ‘Explaining party adaptation to electoral reform: The discreet charm of the ldp?’, Journal of Japanese Studies 30(1): 134.

LaLiberte Andre (2004/2005) ‘Constitutional reform in Taiwan’, Pacific Affairs 77(4): 701706.

Lee Yoonkyung (2006) ‘Varieties of labor politics in northeast Asian democracies: Political institutions and union activism in Korea and Taiwan’, Asian Survey 46(5): 721740.

Liao Dachi and Cheng T.J. (2006) ‘Testing the immune system of a newly born democracy: The 2004 presidential election in Taiwan’, Taiwan Journal of Democracy 2(1): 81102.

Liao Dachi ; Lin Cheng-hsun , and Chen Boyu (2012) ‘The effects of electoral rules upon legislators’ campaign promises and legislative performance: A comparison of Taiwan Legislative Yuan between its sixth term (2005–2008) and seventh term (2008–2012)’, 28 August. Retrieved from

Lien Pei-te (2014) ‘Democratization and citizenship education: Changing identity politics and shifting paradigms of teaching and learning in Taiwan’, Taiwan Journal of Democracy 10(2): 2548.

Lin Jih-wen (2002) ‘Transition through transaction: Taiwan’s constitutional reforms in the Lee Teng-hui era’, American Asian Review 20(2): 123155.

Lin Jih-wen (2006) ‘The politics of reform in Japan and Taiwan’, Journal of Democracy 17(2): 118131.

Lin Jih-wen (2016) ‘The Democratic Progressive Party in majoritarian elections’, in Templeman Kharis , Diamond Larry , and Chu Yun-han (eds), Taiwan’s Democracy Challenged: The Chen Shui-bian Years , Boulder, co: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 5172.

Mattlin Mikael (2011) Politicized Society: The Long Shadow of Taiwan’s One-Party Legacy, Copenhagen: nias Press.

McAllister Ian (2016) ‘Democratic consolidation in Taiwan in comparative perspective’, Asian Journal of Comparative Politics 1(1): 4461.

Mobrand Erik (2014) ‘South Korean democracy in light of Taiwan’, in White Lynn T. , Zhou Kate , and Rigger Shelley (eds), Democratization in China, Korea, and Southeast Asia? Local and National Perspectives , New York: Routledge, 1936.

Noble Gregory W. (1999) ‘Opportunity lost: Partisan incentives and the 1997 constitutional revisions in Taiwan’, The China Journal 41: 89114.

Reilly Benjamin (2007) ‘Democratization and electoral reform in the Asia-Pacific region: Is there an “Asian model” of democracy?’, Comparative Political Studies 40(11): 13501371.

Rigger Shelley (2002) ‘Political science and Taiwan’s domestic politics: The state of the field’, Issues and Studies 38(4): 4992.

Rigger Shelley (2004) ‘Taiwan’s best-case democratization’, Orbis 48(2): 285292.

Rigger Shelley (2005) ‘The unfinished business of Taiwan’s democratization’, in Tucker Nancy Bernkopf (ed), Dangerous Strait: The u.s.-Taiwan-China Crisis , New York: Columbia University Press, 1643.

Rigger Shelley (2011) ‘The politics of constitutional reform in Taiwan’, in Ash Robert , Garver John W. , and Prime Penelope (eds), Taiwan’s Democracy: Economic and Political Challenges , London: Routledge, 3750.

Rigger Shelley (2012) ‘The resilience and dynamism of Taiwan’s democratic system’, in Tsang Steve (ed), The Vitality of Taiwan: Politics, Economics, Society and Culture , Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1936.

Sanborn Howard (2015) ‘Democratic consolidation: Participation and attitudes toward democracy in Taiwan and South Korea’, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 25(1): 4761.

Schafferer Christian (2008) ‘State of democracy in Taiwan: Tracing the obstacles to further democratic development’, paper presented to the Asian Political and International Studies Association/Prospects of Democracy in East Asia for the 21st Century: Issues, Threats, and Challenges in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Schubert Gunter (2004) ‘Taiwan’s political parties and national identity: The rise of an overarching consensus’, Asian Survey 44(4): 534554.

Sheng Shing-yuan (2009) ‘The dynamic triangles among constituencies, parties, and legislators: A comparison before and after the electoral reform’, apsa Toronto Meeting Paper. Retrieved from

Shugart Matthew Søberg (2005) ‘Comparative electoral systems research: The maturation of a field and new challenges ahead’, in Gallagher Michael and Mitchell Paul (eds), The Politics of Electoral Systems, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2556.

Sin To-chʻŏl and Wells Jason (2005) ‘Is democracy the only game in town?’, Journal of Democracy 16(2): 88101.

Stockton Hans (2010) ‘How rules matter: Electoral reform in Taiwan’, Social Science Quarterly 91(1): 2141.

Sullivan Jonathan (2011) ‘Is Taiwan studies in decline?’, The China Quarterly 207: 706718.

Templeman Kharis , Diamond Larry , and Chu Yun-han (2016) Taiwan’s Democracy Challenged: The Chen Shui-bian Years , Boulder, co: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Van Kemenade Willem (2001) ‘Taiwan: Domestic gridlock, cross-Strait deadlock’, The Washington Quarterly 24(4): 5570.

Wachman Alan (2004) ‘Constitutional diplomacy: Taipei’s pen, Beijing’s sword’, Asia Program Special Report No. 125 (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars).

Wang Chin-shou (2016) ‘Democratic Progressive Party clientelism: A failed political project’, in Templeman Kharis , Diamond Larry , and Chu Yun-han (eds), Taiwan’s Democracy Challenged: The Chen Shui-bian Years , Boulder, co: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 267288.

Wang T.Y. and Chen Lu-huei (2008) ‘Political tolerance in Taiwan: Democratic elitism in a polity under threat’, Social Science Quarterly 89(3): 780801.

Wong Joseph (2005) ‘Adapting to democracy: Societal mobilization and social policy in Taiwan and South Korea’, Studies in Comparative International Development 40(3): 88111.

Wu Chien-Huei (2015) ‘Dance with the dragon: Closer economic integration with China and deteriorating democracy and rule of law in Taiwan and Hong Kong?’, Hong Kong Law Journal 45(1): 275294.

Wu Yu-shan (2013) ‘Comparing Taiwan and the cee trio: The impact of social and institutional factors on democracy’, Taiwan Journal of Democracy, Special Issue: 103127.

Yap O. Fiona (2012) ‘A strategic model of economic performance and democratization in South Korea and Taiwan’, British Journal of Political Science 42(1): 213239.

Yeh Jiunn-rong (2002) ‘Constitutional reform and democratization in Taiwan, 1945–2000’, in Chow Peter C.Y. (ed), Taiwan’s Modernization in Global Perspective , Westport, ct: Praeger, 4775.

Yeh Jiunn-rong (2004) ‘Hope or nope: The second call for a new constitution in Taiwan’, Asia Program Special Report No. 125 (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars).


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 42 42 24
Full Text Views 11 11 10
PDF Downloads 2 2 2
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0