Overpromising Social Welfare Benefits? Electoral Competition and Welfare Politics in Taiwan

Jaemin Shim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing insights from legislative, electoral and welfare studies, the article investigates whether and to what extent electoral competition affects incumbent politicians' overpromising of social welfare benefits. For this, Taiwan is chosen as the case and the article examines the fate of elite-level social welfare legislative proposals in the period between 1992 and 2016. Findings drawn from quantitative bill sponsorship patterns demonstrate that political elites tend to propose failure-prone social welfare bills during election periods. Moreover, this tendency grew even more clearly in tandem with the rising levels of electoral democracy. The article argues that the overpromising of social welfare benefits is likely due to cognitive biases on the voter side allowing politicians to make promises without necessarily facing the negative consequences of under-delivery. The article contributes to the comparative welfare state literature by adding much-needed nuance to the existing debates on the relationship between democratic deepening, electoral competition, and the development of welfare politics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-123
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of East Asian Studies
Issue number1
Early online date31 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations

User-Defined Keywords

  • bill sponsor
  • electoral competition
  • legislative politics
  • overpromising
  • Taiwan
  • welfare politics


Dive into the research topics of 'Overpromising Social Welfare Benefits? Electoral Competition and Welfare Politics in Taiwan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this