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Shusei Eshima (Harvard University), Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth College), Shiro Kuriwaki (Stanford University/Yale University), Daniel M. Smith (Columbia University), “Winning Elections with Unpopular Policies: Understanding Single-Party Dominance in Japan”

February 10 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EST

U.S. EST: February 10 (Thu), 8 – 9 PM

JST: February 11 (Fri), 10 – 11 AM

NOTE: Registration required! Link.

Abstract:

Spatial theories of electoral competition assume that parties win votes by proposing popular policies. Other theories suggest the relevance of voters’ non-policy—or valence—considerations. To what extent do voters make their choices based on policies versus valence? We examine this fundamental question about electoral competition using the case of Japan—a multi- party democracy with a single dominant party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Specifically, we develop a novel measure of multidimensional policy preferences based on conjoint experiments fielded during the 2017 and 2021 House of Representatives elections, and relate this measure to voting intentions. We find that voters’ policy preferences are positively associated with their choices. At the same time, our analysis reveals that the LDP enjoys a strong valence advantage despite proposing policies that are, on the whole, less popular among voters. These findings speak to longstanding questions of electoral competition and (non-)policy voting in multidimensional issue spaces, and help to explain the continued dominance of the LDP.

Presenters: Shusei Eshima (Harvard University), Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth College), Shiro Kuriwaki (Stanford University/Yale University), Daniel M. Smith (Columbia University).

Discussants: Eric Guntermann (University of California, Berkeley), Chris Tausanovitch (University of California, Los Angeles).

Chair: Amy Catalinac (New York University).

Details

Date:
February 10
Time:
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EST