The China Quarterly
Does local democracy induce better service to citizens? While elected officials can be punished at the ballot box if they fail to address citizens’ needs, appointed bureaucrats may have policy knowledge that enables them to better serve citizens. Employing a multimethod design, this paper uses variation in local political institutions in Taiwan to assess the relative merits of direct election and bureaucratic appointment for local government responsiveness. While democratic institutions are often thought to induce responsiveness, I find that in Taiwan, with its historically strong bureaucracy and relatively new democratic institutions, the picture is somewhat more complicated. Elected and appointed officials face different incentives that motivate the latter to respond more quickly and effectively to online requests for help.
Taiwan, local governance, bureaucracy, elections, responsiveness
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Licensed to Smith College and distributed CC-BY under the Smith College Faculty Open Access Policy.
Newland, Sara A., "Direct Election, Bureaucratic Appointment, and Local Government Responsiveness in Taiwan" (2023). Government: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.