The Program for East Asia Democratic Studies is one of the founding programs of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences at National Taiwan University, and is funded under the Ministry of Education’s Aim for the Top University. Project. The Program brings together renowned scholars with cross-national survey experience from both Taiwan and overseas. Applying an integrated research framework and standardized survey procedures, the Program engages in cross-national comparative survey work on socioeconomic modernization, regime transition and democratization, as well as changes in political values across the East Asia region. In 2012, the newly established Center for East Asia Democratic Studies at National Taiwan University took over responsibility for administrative work and implementation of the survey. Over the years, the Program has received funding support from prestigious academic bodies both in Taiwan and overseas, including the Ministry of Education’s “Program for Promoting Academic Excellence in Universities,” the “Plan to Develop First-class Universities and Top-level Research Centers,” the “Program for International Research Cooperation” under the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Word Bank, the Henry Luce Foundation, the project on “East Asian Value Change and Global Democratic Development” at the Institute of Political Science at Academia Sinica, and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. The Program has engaged in long-term follow up studies on the mechanisms and processes of authoritarian transition and democratization in the region, bringing together thirteen countries and territories in East Asia (Taiwan, Hong Kong, mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia) and five countries in South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka). Through large-scale comparative survey work on democratization in Asia, the Program has gathered empirical data on issues such as political values, democratic legitimacy, political participation, and the quality of democratic governance, producing an in-depth picture of the quality of democratic governance in Asian countries, and providing data for use by scholars from across the globe.

The Program for East Asia Democratic Studies is an integrated research program that brings together four sub-projects in addition to the overall project, as follows. Sub-project 1: Asian Barometer Regional Survey; Sub-project 2: Asian Barometer Taiwan Survey; Sub-project 3: Asian Barometer Mainland China Survey; Sub-project 4: Global Barometer Survey. Each of these sub-projects is convened by a professor at the Department of Political Science, National Taiwan University. We hope to develop long-term cooperation and exchange with major international academic institutions and intergovernmental organizations, making research on democratization in East Asia a part of the global academic mainstream.

The contents of each of the projects are listed below:

Overall project: Responsible for the integration and supervision of each of the sub-projects.

Asian Barometer Regional Survey: Acts as the regional headquarters for the Asian Barometer, responsible for the following:

  • Carrying out regular surveys measuring political values, political support, assessment of regime performance and quality of governance, and political participation in Asian countries.
  • >Regularly publishing research findings on democratization in Asia and organizing international academic activities.
  • Developing talent in comparative survey work, democratization research, and related fields in developing countries in the region, and gradually developing a research community on democratization in the region.
  • Providing a digital archive of Asian Barometer data for used by the academic community, government agencies, international organizations, democratic support organizations, civil society groups, and the news media, distributing survey findings as widely as possible.
  • Working with Global Barometer Surveys to establish global indicators of democratic development and quality of governance, and producing regular research reports in collaboration with international organizations such as the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance and the United Nations Development Programme.

Asian Barometer Taiwan Survey: Within the overall East Asia survey framework, planning and implementation of a research framework for comparative survey work on four ethnically Chinese societies – Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and mainland China – and examining Taiwan’s unique historical context and political development within this context.

Mainland China Survey: This is currently the only survey in the world tracking changes in citizens’ values and views on the regime in mainland China. In terms of theoretical development and research design, aside from the overall East Asia survey framework, we also plan and implement survey work on mainland China’s unique political development within a Greater China comparative context.

Global Barometer Surveys: Integrating five major regional surveys – Asian Barometer, Afrobarometer, Latinobarómetro, Arab Barometer, and Eurasia Barometer, establishing a global democratization research organization covering 80 countries, integrating data from each of the regional surveys, to provide a comprehensive database for use by scholars from across the globe.

Download: PowerPoint file of Introduction to the Asian Barometer Survey (ABS)