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Masaaki Higashijima (Tohoku University), Naoki Shimizu, Hidekuni Washida, Yuki Yanai, “Mass Reactions to Endogenous Election Timing: Evidence from Conjoint Experiments in Japan”

March 3 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EST

U.S. EST: March 3 (Thu), 8 – 9 PM

JST: March 4 (Fri), 10 – 11 AM

NOTE: Registration required! Link.

Paper is available here.


This paper explores when election timing maneuvering undermines procedural fairness of democratic elections. In parliamentary democracies, incumbents opportunistically time elections. In theorizing about how election timing manipulation affects mass perceptions of electoral fairness, we focus on structures of electoral competition. Besides conventional economic opportunism, we consider the following three factors – (1) cabinet support, (2) opposition coordination, and (3) individual partisanship – as moderators influencing mass reactions to election timing. A conjoint experiment conducted in Japan shows that election timing chicanery negatively affects popular perceptions of democratic fairness among independents, particularly when surrounding structures of the electoral field credibly signals election calling is pro-incumbent, i.e., when public support for the government is high and opposition parties fail to coordinate election campaigning. In contrast, government and opposition supporters are less sensitive to timing manipulation and positively evaluate electoral circumstances where their supporting parties have advantages in the first place.

Presenter: Masaaki Higashijima (Tohoku University).

Discussants: Sona N. Golder (Pennsylvania State University), Charles McClean (University of Michigan).

Chair: Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth College).


March 3
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EST