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Unformatted text preview: a guidebook for students and researchers Mathew Y. H. Wong Comparative Hong Kong Politics Mathew Y. H. Wong Comparative Hong Kong Politics A Guidebook for Students and Researchers Mathew Y. H. Wong Department of Politics and Public Administration University of Hong Kong Pokfulam, Hong Kong ISBN 978-981-10-3095-6    ISBN 978-981-10-3096-3 (eBook) DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-3096-3 Library of Congress Control Number: 2017930828 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover illustration: © Kjersti Joergensen / Alamy Stock Photo Printed on acid-free paper This Palgrave imprint is published by Springer Nature The registered company is Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. The registered company address is: 152 Beach Road, #21-01/04 Gateway East, Singapore 189721, Singapore To WKW, who is truly incomparable Acknowledgements The idea of this book originated during my preparation for my job talk when I was forced, for the very first time, to think systematically about my research on Hong Kong. As the main field of my Ph.D. study was not focused on Hong Kong, a research agenda in this area was not needed until then. Fortunately the job talk went well (not sure if it would had they known the truth). I am very grateful for the opportunities my colleagues and the Department granted me. I am indebted to several long-term mentors, Hugh Ward, Sing Ming, and Eric Chui, for their continued guidance and support. As my Ph.D. supervisor, Hugh Ward has always been kind and supportive, giving me a great deal of freedom in pursuing my own research interests (which led to Hong Kong-related research). After all these years, I am now convinced that there is no area within political science that he is not familiar with. It goes without saying that I benefit immensely from this. Sing Ming opened my doors to the world of politics (especially Hong Kong politics) during my undergraduate studies in finance at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His teachings allowed me to recognize what I wanted to do with my life, and his countless reference letters opened doors for me to pursue that. Eric Chui offered me the opportunity to get on board his ambitious projects despite my rather different research area. Over time I have come to understand the value and meaning of those studies, and the cross-discipline collaborations have broadened my horizon. I would also like to thank Jacob Dreyer, the editor at Palgrave, and other staff for their help on the production and publication of this book. vii viii   ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS My research assistants and students, including Dominic Ho, Hayley Lau, Peter Lau, Jack Leung, Michael Pang, Lydia Sung, Alex Tang, and Vanessa Tsang, also contributed to various aspects of this project. Lastly, I would like to show my unreserved gratitude toward my wife and my family, who provide me a major source of motivation to do more and to do better. In particular, my wife has always been there during my ups and downs at every transition in my life. She has always accepted me for what I am, and sometimes tries to make me better through her very gentle methods. In a movie that we both enjoyed, the male character was told by others that ‘She made you decent, and in return you made her so happy, so happy’. If I cannot make the world better for everyone by studying social sciences (no surprise there), at the very least I will always try to make her happy. Contents Part I  What is Comparative Hong Kong Politics?  1 1 Comparative Politics: An Introduction  3 2 Methods in Comparative Politics 15 3 Hong Kong Politics: An Overview 35 Part II  Political Regime 51 4 State 53 5 Democracy71 6 Democratization  105 ix x   Contents Part III  Political Institutions  137 7 Presidentialism and Parliamentarism  139 8 Political Parties and Party Systems  155 9 Electoral Systems  181 10 Holistic Approaches to Political Institution Design  201 Part IV  Political Economy  235 11 Democratic and Authoritarian Performances237 12 Income Inequality  263 13 Conclusion  279 Index285 About the Author Mathew Y. H. Wong  is assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Essex. He has published articles in peer-reviewed journals such as European Political Science Review, Studies in Comparative International Development, International Political Science Review, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Asian Studies Review, and China Review, among other journals. He has also participated in collaborative efforts in studying well-being among the youth in Hong Kong, with publications in Social Indicators Research, Child Indicators Research, and Journal of Family Issues. He currently teaches courses in Comparative Politics and Hong Kong Politics at the University of Hong Kong, and has previous teaching experiences at the University of Essex, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Open University of Hong Kong. xi Abbreviations ABS ADPL AO AUS AV CE CEPA CP CS CSES DAB DC DP EAC EC ENPP ExCo FC FDI FTU GC GDP HKMA HKSAR LegCo LP Asian Barometer Survey Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood Administrative Officer Alliance for Universal Suffrage Alternative Vote Chief Executive Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement Civic Party Chief Secretary for Administration Comparative Study of Electoral Systems Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong District Council Democratic Party Electoral Affairs Commission Election Committee Effective Number of Political Parties Executive Council Functional Constituency Foreign Direct Investment Federation of Trade Unions Geographical Constituency Gross Domestic Product Hong Kong Monetary Authority Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Legislative Council Liberal Party xiii xiv   ABBREVIATIONS LSD LSq MMP MNC NGO NSM OCTS OECD OLS PBV POAS PP PR SAR SMP SNTV WVS League of Social Democrats Least Squares Index Mixed Member Proportional Multinational Corporations Non-Governmental Organization New social Movements One Country Two Systems Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Ordinary Least Squares Party Block Vote Principal Officials Accountability System People Power Proportional Representation Special Administrative Region Single-Member Plurality Single Non-Transferable Vote World Values Survey List Fig. 2.1 Fig. 2.2 Fig. 2.3 Fig. 2.4 Fig. 5.1 Fig. 5.2 Fig. 5.3 Fig. 5.4 Fig. 5.5 Fig. 5.6 Fig. 5.7 Fig. 6.1 Fig. 6.2 Fig. 6.3 Fig. 6.4 Fig. 6.5 Fig. 6.6 Fig. 9.1 Fig. 10.1 Fig. 10.2 of Figures A regression line of score (Y) on hour (X) Spurious relationship  Labor and growth in the Asian cases, 1970–1981. Adopted from Geddes (2003, 102) Labor and growth in the full universe of developing countries, 1970–1981. Adapted from Geddes (2003, 103) A classification of authoritarian regimes. Adapted from Clark et al. (2012, 355, 365) and Cheibub et al. (2010) Levitsky and Way’s conception of hybrid regimes Larry Diamond’s six-fold regime typology O’Donnell and Schmitter’s conception of hybrid regimes Post-war democracy trends Effect of different polity cut-offs Freedom House democracy trends Waves of democracy since 1800 Modernization theory: traditional interpretation (left) and Przeworski et al.’s interpretation (right) Top-down model of regime transition Solving the transition game under a weak civil society (left) and a strong civil society (right) A model of political reform in Hong Kong Solving the transition game under a weak civil society (left) and a strong civil society (right) in Hong Kong Party competition in a plurality voting system The median voter Party competition and the median voter 20 25 27 28 90 94 95 96 98 99 100 107 110 120 121 123 125 192 209 210 xv xvi   List of Figures Fig. 10.3 Fig. 11.1 Fig. 11.2 Fig. 11.3 Fig. 12.1 Lijphart’s two-dimensional map of democracy 1981–2010 Selectorate and winning coalition Government spending by sector (% GDP) Government spending by sector (% total spending) A typical right-skewed income distribution 220 246 254 255 267 List Table 2.1 Table 2.2 Table 2.3 Table 2.4 Table 2.5 Table 4.1 Table 5.1 Table 5.2 Table 5.3 Table 5.4 Table 6.1 Table 6.2 Table 6.3 Table 6.4 Table 7.1 Table 8.1 Table 8.2 Table 8.3 Table 8.4 Table 9.1 Table 9.2 Table 10.1 Table 10.2 Table 11.1 Table 11.2 Table 11.3 of Tables Method of Agreement 17 Method of Difference 17 A sample dataset 20 A sample regression table 22 Case study and large-N study 29 A comparison of the factors affecting autonomy 61 Dahl’s institutional criteria of democracy 73 Polity IV component measures of democracy 77 Freedom House scores for Hong Kong 81 Breakdown of Polity scores for Hong Kong, 1998–2014 86 Indicators of democratic support and authoritarian rejection 116 Payoffs for each player in the transition game 121 Payoffs for Beijing and the opposition in Hong Kong 124 Summary of political reforms in post-1997 Hong Kong 126 Main features of presidential and parliamentary systems 142 A summary of left and right in politics 158 Party models in Hong Kong 161 ‘Differential’ and ‘deviation’ of political parties in Hong Kong 163 Effective number of political parties in Hong Kong 170 An example of the proportional representation system 184 Electoral disproportionality in Hong Kong 190 Dimensions of two models of democracy 214 Hong Kong and the two models of democracy 224 Selectorate theory and regime types 248 Selectorate and winning coalition in Hong Kong 251 Perception of corruption in Hong Kong 256 xvii PART I What is Comparative Hong Kong Politics? CHAPTER 1 Comparative Politics: An Introduction Introduction Generally speaking, the study of politics can be divided into political science and political theory. Political science is characterized by a positive approach (note: not the opposite of negative) whereas political theory is predominantly normative. Normative inquiries are subjective and values-­ based, which can neither be proved nor be rejected. For example, ‘what should be the best form of government?’ is a normative question as it depends on one’s expectations toward the government, which may be different for everyone. On the other hand, positive inquiries are empirical, testable, and neutral in value. For example, ‘what is currently the most popular form of government in the world?’ or ‘is democracy or non-­ democracy more conducive to economic growth?’ are positive questions. They can be answered by an objective analysis based on evidence without referring to the personal opinion of the researcher or the audience. Political science is the study of politics with positive approaches. Although the topic of interest may have its roots in normative considerations (and indeed political theories contribute to shaping the issues of interest), political science has to adapt the idea into a research question following the ‘scientific method’ (to be discussed next), thus the label ‘political science’ (similarly for social science). In a common classification, political science is further branched into two sub-fields: comparative politics and international relations. Comparative politics focuses on political phenomena within countries (e.g., elections, regimes) and international © The Author(s) 2017 M. Y. H. Wong, Comparative Hong Kong Politics, DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-3096-3_1 3 4   M. Y. H. WONG relations between them (e.g., wars, foreign policies). Of course, there are always overlapping areas between the two sub-fields, but their respective scopes are quite different. For example, when comparative politics assesses the impact of external factors (say, how global economy leads to political instability), it is usually analyzed through changes domestically (the increase in people’s dissatisfaction). Traditionally, comparative politics was a field with a narrow focus on formal state institutions such as the executive branch. Studies in this area only include a handful of cases, namely the countries in North America and Western Europe. The initial development of comparative politics was also directed by the United States due to the rapid expansion of political science as a discipline there. For example, while ‘American politics’ is a separate subject in universities in the United States, comparative politics has often been used to incorporate the study of all countries other than America without reference to its underlying methodology. This has obviously limited the development of comparative politics as a distinct sub-­ field with its own characteristics. ‘Modern’ comparative politics carries a distinct flavor. The consensual view toward the subject is the incorporation of comparative components. This is grounded in the idea that any convincing causal arguments have to entail some systematic comparisons, at least implicitly. A conclusion drawn from a study with no comparative elements is less meaningful as it cannot be assessed in terms of its strength and the possible existence of an alternative explanation; neither can the conclusion be tested. Comparative politics also performs analysis of variances, that is, similarities and differences, which would be non-existent without comparisons. The logic of comparison and its role in this field will be further explained in Chap. 2. The Scientific Method Comparative politics is mainly focused on positive and empirical explorations. How can this be achieved? The term ‘political science’ itself reflects the ideal of studying politics in a scientific manner. What does this actually mean? Does it mean that political science has to emulate ‘natural science’ subjects (like physics) and do research that way? Perhaps ideally so. But the thing is that politics can never be like natural sciences. The most interesting political phenomena always take place in an uncontrolled, non-­ experimental manner. It is impossible for us, as researchers, say, to raise the level of gross domestic product (GDP) in a country and observe what COMPARATIVE POLITICS: AN INTRODUCTION   5 social changes would follow. This makes social science and political science inherently different from natural sciences. Instead, our aim as political scientists should be to build knowledge by closely observing the ‘scientific method’. As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, the scientific method is ‘a method of procedure consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses: criticism is the backbone of the scientific method’. In practical research, several major steps can be identified following the scientific method: (a) raising questions arising from puzzling or unexpected observations; (b) development of theories which can explain the phenomenon; (c) formulation of testable hypotheses based on the predictions of the theory; (d) testing of hypotheses through observations, experiments, or research; (e) acceptance, rejection, or revision of hypotheses; and (f) evaluating the validity of the theory in enhancing our understanding toward the question. Scientific discovery is a never-ending process: commonly accepted theories represent only our latest perspective toward the issue. As ‘criticism is the backbone of the scientific method’, knowledge building depends on the constant reconsideration of existing theories. They are valid only until new discoveries cast doubt on them, and then new theories are suggested or existing ones revised, taking into account the new perspectives. This paradigm should also be applied vigorously to political science and comparative politics as well. What Makes Something ‘Science’? Besides the procedures of scientific inquiry (forming hypotheses, testing…), what ultimately distinguishes science from non-science is the potential of falsifiability. This was an idea propagated by Karl Popper, one of the greatest philosophers of science of the twentieth century. An idea, a statement, or a theory can only be considered scientific if it could possibly be proven wrong (falsified). Note that it does not have to be wrong, but it 6   M. Y. H. WONG must be tentative and leave open the possibility that it is wrong. In other words, it has to be testable. Consider the following statements: ( a) The Umbrella Movement was a success. (b) The Umbrella Movement negatively affected investors’ perception toward Hong Kong. Comparing the two, statement (b) is testable and falsifiable. For example, we can survey a sample of investors regarding their views toward the movement and whether they had lost confidence in Hong Kong because of it; alternatively, we can compare indices of investor perception toward Hong Kong before and after the movement to see if there was a drop. Of course there are problems with these proposals, but these do not concern us here. The important point is that statement (b) allows for the possibility of rejection if we find evidence showing the opposite pattern. Therefore, statement (b) is falsifiable and thus, scientific. The same cannot be said about statement (a). This is because there is no objective definition of the idea of success and it differs for everyone. Even if we do not find any observable change in the political system and the society, supporters of the movement might find ‘success’ in the spread of the spirit of the movement or its educational value on the people. They can shift the focus to yet other areas if unfavorable evidence shows up. In this case, there is nothing that can potentially be done to reject this claim outright. Statement (a) is thus non-falsifiable. Note that this does not necessarily make it wrong or unimportant: the movement might well be a success (however defined) and it might be valuable for us to determine if it is a success. The point here is that this statement does not fit the standard of scientific inquiry and should be avoided in political science. It could easily be amended to, for instance, ‘the Umbrella Movement raised Hong Kong people’s political interest and increased political participation’ and serve as a perfectly suitable research question in political science. As you can probably tell, scientific statements and theories walk a very fine line. Any theories widely accepted at a time are merely tentative knowledge, waiting to be challenged by a negative finding (they must remain ‘tentative forever’ in the words of Popper).1 This involves a much higher standard than non-science, which might be more difficult to challenge, 1  Although in social sciences a single negative case does not reject a theory (refer to the concept of probabilistic argument in Chap. 2). COMPARATIVE POLITICS: AN INTRODUCTION   7 but actually carries much less meaningful knowledge. The fact that we can have confidence (f...
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