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Studies on Taiwan’s Democracy and Democratisation

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image of International Journal of Taiwan Studies

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.

Affiliations: 1: Brown Professor and Assistant Dean for Educational Policy, Political Science Department, Davidson College, Davidson, NC, USA,


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