Dilemmas of electoral clientelism: Taiwan, 1993

Chin Shou Wang, Charles Kurzman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


For many years, studies of electoral clientelism regarded clients as the captive votes of patrons. In recent years, this conventional wisdom has come under challenge, as scholars have come to recognize the widespread noncompliance of clients. This article uses the case of the 1993 Taiwan election to offer the first ever systematic data on noncompliance. Documents from the ruling Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) campaign office in one Taiwanese district, combined with district electoral results, demonstrate considerable leakage in this instance of clientelistic mobilization: at least 45 percent of voters who sold their votes to the Kuomintang did not, in fact, vote for the Kuomintang's candidate. This article argues that clientelistic mobilization faced at least four serious obstacles, including (1) broker scarcity, (2) factionalism, (3) embezzlement, and (4) financial limitations. These obstacles prevented the Kuomintang from making full use of its broker organizations, even as it devoted extensive economic and political resources and personnel to the election.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-245
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Political Science Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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