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Yu Jin Woo (Waseda University), Ikuo Kume (Waseda University), “Taking Gains from Trade (More) Seriously: The Effects of Consumer Perspective on Free Trade in Contemporary Japan”

June 10 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT

U.S. EDT: June 10 (Thu), 8 – 9 PM

JST: June 11 (Fri), 9 – 10 AM

NOTE: Registration required! Link.


How did the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) persistently pursue the TPP negotiations without harming its overall public support? In understanding individuals’ preferences toward trade liberalization, the traditional literature on international political economy has typically examined their comparative advantage as producers, which arises from their specific or general skill level or employment concerns. What needs to be taken into account, however, is that their economic preferences are constructed based upon their intertwined identities as both producers and consumers. Using a unique survey design, we conducted an experiment in Japan (2015) that shows that consumer effect reduces individuals’ concerns on income level or employment when they are exposed to consumer and employment primings simultaneously. Furthermore, our subgroup analyses reveal that the consumer effect remains powerful even for economically fragile individuals while the LDP supporters are particularly susceptible to the consumer priming. In sum, our findings speculate that the LDP enjoyed a sustained public support due to Japanese people’s increasing price sensitivity, which is especially strong among pro-LDP individuals.

Paper is available here.

Presenter: Yu Jin Woo (Waseda University).

Discussants: Eddie Hearn (Musashi University), Soo Yeon Kim (National University of Singapore).

Chair: Christina L. Davis (Harvard University).


June 10
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT