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comparative politics international relations Japan-related research

JPOSS #5 “Advisors or Agents? Bureaucratic Structure and the Politics of Trade Protection”

The fifth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on October 15, 2020. Christina Davis (Harvard) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Diana Stanescu (Harvard University) presented an overview of her doctoral thesis, “Advisors or Agents? Bureaucratic Structure and the Politics of Trade Protection.” In her presentation, Stanescu explores an important player in trade politics that extant studies have tended to overlook–namely, bureaucrats. Leveraging WTO reports, her research introduces an original time-series cross-sectional data-set that measures the institutional design of state bureaucracies engaged in trade policy covering 135 countries for over a 20 year period. Stanescu empirically tests the effect of bureaucracies on non-tariff barriers – a form of administered protection. She finds that bureaucracies with apolitical expertise implement policies that are less protectionist than those that engage active industry participation, controlling for macroeconomic shocks and confounders for institutional design. Stanescu also presented findings from a case study of Japan to illustrate her argument’s causal mechanism.

Consistent with job talk formats at many post-secondary institutions, this practice job talk allowed the presenter to engage in a lively discussion with various audience members on the substance of her research. The question and answer session that followed Stanescu’s presentation raised questions about the impact that bureaucrats have on trade policy in general but especially in the Japanese context. The audience also provided many constructive suggestions pertaining to theory and research methods.

This event attracted over thirty participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. If you missed this session, we are happy to share a video recording by request (please contact Emma Duncan: eduncan@wcfia.harvard.edu). The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: http://jposs.org/

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Japan-related research

JPOSS #3 “How to Frame Japan-Related Research for Publications and the Job Market”

The third session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on September 17, 2020. Phillip Lipscy (University of Toronto) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Amy Catalinac (NYU) discussed research framing, drawing on her own research to argue that using Japan to try to understand something general about the world can be an effective way to appeal to a wider audience in political science. Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth) described his experience as faculty outside of the United States, explaining the struggles he endured but also the insights he gained. He suggested that Japan scholars should aim to write the best paper possible rather than trying to aim for lower-level journals. Dan Smith (Harvard) emphasized the importance of cultivating professional networks and making effective use of public engagement and social media. Charles Crabtree (Dartmouth) provided advice about approaching the job market, emphasizing how candidates should place Japan in a broader context to increase appeal, apply broadly, and practice self-care in a tough market. Christina Davis (Harvard) described some of the challenges of finding the right balance between Japan expertise and scholarship that appeals to the broader political science community.

The session attracted over one hundred participants, a new record for JPOSS. An active Q&A session included additional words of wisdom from Tom Le (Pomona), Susan Pharr (Harvard) and Hiroki Takeuchi (Southern Methodist) on topics such as how to approach advisors to secure strong letters of support and differences between research and teaching universities.

If you missed this session, we are happy to share a video recording by request (please contact Emma Duncan: eduncan@wcfia.harvard.edu). The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: http://jposs.org/