Sense, Sensitivity, and Sophistication in Shaping the Future of Cross-Strait Relations




Shu Keng;Lu-Huei Chen;Kuan-Po Huang

Key Words

cross-Strait relations ; cross-Strait exchanges ; symbolic politics ; trade policy ; political sophistication


Issues & Studies

Volume or Term/Year and Month of Publication

42卷4期(2006 / 12 / 01)

Page #

23 - 66

Content Language


English Abstract

Increasing economic engagement together with persistent political confrontation make today's cross-Strait relations a very unique case in the study of international politics. Guided by the theory of integration, many scholars strive to figure out the political consequences of these economic transactions. However, the transactions themselves are not free flows of capital and resources: they have been strictly regulated by the government of Taiwan and those regulating policies have to be approved by the Taiwanese electorate in the end. What, then, are the factors shaping public opinion in Taiwan concerning whether the ban on cross-Strait exchanges should be lifted? In this paper, the authors will answer this question by testing three related hypotheses: one stresses the effects of material interests (the ”sense” thesis), another political identity (the ”sensitivity” thesis), and still another information and knowledge concerning the issues (the ”sophistication” thesis). Employing logit models and grounded on the ”2005 Survey on Cross-Strait Relations and Taiwan's National Security” (sponsored by the Center for Asian-Pacific Security of Duke University), we find that the respondents' positions on loosening or tightening cross-Strait trade are largely determined by sensitivity aspects rather than sense and sophistication dimensions. This finding agrees with the idea of neo-functionalism, that politics maintains firm control over economic transactions, which presumably weakens the autonomy of politics.

Topic Category 社會科學 > 政治學
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