Since Taiwan became democratic in 1992 and especially after the change in ruling parties in 2000, the passage of new laws and the reform of existing ones have defined more clearly than ever what constitutes “corrupt” behavior, and legal changes have followed international norms. Moreover, since the change in ruling parties, judicial independence has been guaranteed, and anti-corruption agencies have been strengthened considerably. Despite the fact that there is still corruption, and that the institutional configuration of Taiwan’s anti-corruption agencies is far from optimum, these are major achievements.The present report explains these achievements by analyzing the impact of two turning points in Taiwan’s history, democratization and the change in ruling parties, on agency in Taiwan’s anti-corruption reforms. It does so by applying the methodology of process-tracing, which investigates the historical developments around these two “critical junctures” in Taiwan’s history, while taking into consideration enabling and constraining factors “inherited” from the authoritarian era. The analysis primarily draws on interviews conducted with former and present officials, judges, and investigators in October 2014.
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