Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-25-2021

Publication Title

Social Science Journal

First page number:

1

Last page number:

19

Abstract

© 2021 Western Social Science Association. The death penalty enjoys overwhelmingly cross-partisan support among Taiwanese citizens. Politicians, mass media actors, and anti-death-penalty activists all believe that death penalty executions boost the president’s approval. As a result, Taiwanese presidents are motivated to strategically execute prisoners, trying to improve their approval rate. To examine this myth, we exploit data from a nationally representative survey conducted in 2012; six inmates were unexpectedly executed during the survey period. This unique opportunity enables us to examine the causal relationship between implementing a welcoming policy and its effect on public opinion. Contrary to popular belief, however, the results of the regression discontinuity design indicate that death penalty executions in Taiwan did not boost the president’s approval rate at all. This non-finding holds after several robustness checks and difference-in-differences analyses. This result yields implications for the study of judicial politics and presidential approval.

Keywords

Death penalty; Presidential approval; Public opinion; Regression discontinuity design; Taiwan politics

Disciplines

Law and Politics | Political Science

File Format

pdf

File Size

994 KB

Language

English

Available for download on Saturday, February 25, 2023

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