Breaking Authoritarian Bonds: The Political Origins of the Taiwan Administrative Procedure Act

By Baum, Jeeyang Rhee | Journal of East Asian Studies, September-December 2005 | Go to article overview

Breaking Authoritarian Bonds: The Political Origins of the Taiwan Administrative Procedure Act


Baum, Jeeyang Rhee, Journal of East Asian Studies


Taiwan recently adopted a series of administrative reform laws designed to make the bureaucracy more transparent and allow public participation in regulatory policies. Because administrative reform limits the executive's power, it is clear why legislatures would favor strict administrative procedures. But it is less dear why presidents would support them. The passage of these laws begs the question why presidents support administrative procedural reforms designed to restrict their abilities to act freely. I argue that in Taiwan, President Lee Tenghui's control of his party deteriorated as factional disputes within his own party increased over time. Lee ultimately concluded that the Kuomintang's political survival depended on major reforms. Consequently, the status quo--oriented bureaucracy--hitherto an important source of support for Lee and his key constituencies--became an impediment. Lee supported Taiwan's Administrative Procedure Act in order to reduce the bureaucracy's capacity to impede reform. More generally, I argue that administrative procedures designed to open up the bureaucracy to the public, including previously excluded groups, can serve politicians' goal of redirecting the bureaucracy. Archival data, secondary sources, and interviews with key presidential advisers, senior career bureaucrats, and politicians support my argument.

KEYWORDS: administrative procedures, black-gold politics, bureaucratic transparency, corruption, KMT factions, public participation, Taiwanese politics

**********

Now under the administrative reform by the KMT, there is a second track for appeals: They [citizens] can start at the Executive Yuan [branch]. When people fail there, then they can appeal through the judicial system. In turn, they can face each other and have a debate between the government and the people. In other words, we have created a situation where the third party, or the judiciary, can arbitrate between the people and government. (1)

--Yao Eng-Chi, Vice President, Legislative Yuan (July 15, 2000)

During the past decade, scholars have tried increasingly to understand the origin of the administrative procedures that govern policy implementation. The nature of the procedures used by government agencies to implement statutory mandates not only determines what groups are able to participate in rule-making but also ultimately affects the nature of policy. In the absence of procedures designed to offset it, there is a common tendency for agencies to become "captured," often by the interests they are intended to regulate. One primary effect of procedural openness is that broader interests and those with fewer political resources are enfranchised. Another is that status quo policies become harder to change. Particularly powerful in this regard are statutes that establish procedures to be used by all agencies, across all policy areas. In the United States, the primary statute of this type is the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) of 1946. Many other countries have APA-like laws, but many do not.

Taiwan recently adopted a series of administrative reform laws, including an APA, designed to make the executive branch more transparent and allow public participation in regulatory policies. For example, agencies are required to notify the public, incorporate public comments, and hold public hearings during the policymaking process. These procedural requirements empower individual citizens and organized interest groups to actively voice their opinions about virtually every government decision. By enfranchising new segments of society, the APA increases monitoring, predictability, and public influence over agency decisions. Yet, they also inhibit presidents' freedom of action. Thus, the passage of these laws suggests a puzzle. Why would a president voluntarily tie his or her own hands by supporting an APA, thereby limiting his capacity to unilaterally pass his preferred policies?

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Breaking Authoritarian Bonds: The Political Origins of the Taiwan Administrative Procedure Act
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.