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An Institutional Analysis of Environmental Pollution Disputes in Taiwan: Cases of 'Self-Relief'


  • Terao, Tadayoshi


During the late 1980s and early 1990s in Taiwan, people's protests against environmental pollution often took the form of "self-relief," meaning that they attempted to fight polluters using their own resources, without relying on legal or administrative procedures. Why did such an extreme form of disputes become so widespread? What institutional changes did these movements bring about? These questions are analyzed using the analytical framework of "law and economics." Our research shows that "self-relief" functioned to a certain extent as a means of realizing quick compensation for victims, and for reflecting the opinions of local people concerning development projects; in addition, it served to promote the formulation of law and administrative systems. However, as it was based on direct negotiations between the parties concerned, the outcome of each dispute only reflected the transient balance of forces, and the experience gained in negotiations was not accumulated as a social norm.

Suggested Citation

  • Terao, Tadayoshi, 2002. "An Institutional Analysis of Environmental Pollution Disputes in Taiwan: Cases of 'Self-Relief'," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO), vol. 40(3), pages 284-304, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:jet:deveco:v:40:y:2002:i:3:p:284-304

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    Cited by:

    1. Ming-sho Ho, 2010. "Understanding the Trajectory of Social Movements in Taiwan (1980-2010)," Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 39(3), pages 3-22.


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