The Examination Yuan of ROC

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Journal of Civil Service(Abstract)

The Distribution of Earmark Grants:An Empirical Analysis in Chiayi City

  • Post Date:1/9/2015
  • Unit Name:Editing and Compilation Office

Earmark Grant, one of prerogatives which are reserved for the
councillors, can be found in many cities and counties across Taiwan. It has
been an open secret for city/county councillors forging tacit agreements with
the city/county governments in earmarking funds to be spent on specific
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and non-partisan candidates had
won Chaiyi City mayoral elections for twenty years. Power structures
changed, however, when a divided government ensued following a
Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party, KMT) win in the mayoral election
in 2006.Tension arose between the city government and the city council.
With this in mind, it merits looking into whether a subtle sign can be found
and the way of appropriation spending is challenged in the 7th Chaiyi City
councillorship (from March 1, 2006 to Feb. 28, 2010).
The author follows theories of distributive politics to determine answers
to the above-mentioned questions by focusing on the relationship between
political influence and councillors’ earmark grants and the political influence
on election results.
The results show that the amount of money councillors obtained
through earmark grants was affected by the following factors: constituency needs, a seat on the procedure committee, partisanship, affiliations with a
political faction, etc. Moreover, electoral competitiveness in the district and
average voter turnout of the benefited borough have contributed to the
councillors’ willingness to strive for earmark grants. Councillors who won
the election by a narrow margin would be more eager to fight for earmark
grants for the next election. Councillors will be more inclined to direct
money to particular purposes for the district with higher voter turnout. In
addition, councillor’s efforts in earmarking increase significantly in the year
of election.
Last but not least, the relationship was found to be weak between the
cases and amount of money from earmark grants and the number of vote
received between terms. However, there was a significant difference
between the change of number of votes received between terms and four
independent variables, namely, seniority, partisanship, serving on the
procedure committee and affiliations with a political faction.
Keywords: Earmark rant, pork barrel politics, theory of distribution,
distributive politics