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Associate Professor, Department of Applied Social Science, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Clinical Associate Professor, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas; Ashbel Smith Professor, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas
Mass Production of Individualized Services: Machine Politics in Hong Kong
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Political machines are built to distribute spoils, buy support, and influence election outcome. Existing research argues that political machines target poor and illiterate voters because their votes are cheap to acquire with non-programmatic benefits. Using the case of Hong Kong, we critically examine the extent to which the ruling coalition utilizes non-programmatic benefits in elections where votes are generally too expensive to purchase. Using interviews with local councilors and data from the 2015 Hong Kong Election Study, we find that: (1) pro-Beijing parties tend to specialize in the provision of highly individualized services; (2) demand for these services tends to come from non-poor citizens; and (3) unable to monitor individual votes, pro-Beijing parties use services and benefits to influence the turnout of the recipients, rather than their vote choice. These findings suggest that the growing electoral strength of pro-Beijing parties in Hong Kong reflects their responsiveness to constituent demands.
Karl Ho, Clinical Associate Professor, School of Economic, Policy and Political Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas.
Cal Clark, Emeritus Professor, Department of Political Science, Auburn University.
Alexander C. Tan, Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Canterbury (NZ), and Chair Professor, Department of Political Science, National Chengchi University.
Politicized to Mobilize? A Longitudinal Study of First-Time Voters’ Voting Intentions in Taiwan, 2004-2016 Download
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Much has been made about the “coming of age” of many Taiwanese young and new voters as an important factor contributing to the gratifying electoral result of the DPP and its pan-Green allies. The Taiwanese case, then, may be considered an aberration as the increased political activism among the younger Taiwanese voters stands in some contrast to the supposed apathy of their counterparts in the Western world. Indeed, this particular generation of young Taiwanese voters may have been “politicized” so much so that they are also easily “mobilized.” In this paper, we examine whether Taiwanese new voters are indeed politicized and whether their politicization translates to voting intentions. Using longitudinal TEDS surveys to detect common patterns of first-time voters’ voting behavior, preliminary results from our multivariate analysis indicate that first-time voters are not different in likelihood of participating in voting compared to other voters. The subtle difference, however, resides on the viable options with which these young cohorts can identify. This can be part of the reason they are more supportive of the new parties than merely the traditional parties.