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comparative politics Japan-related research

JPOSS #21 “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Willingness to Pay for Online Conspiracy Theory Content – Evidence from Japan”

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The twentieth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on October 14, 2021. Amy Catalinac (New York University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

John W. Cheng (Tsuda University), Masaru Nishikawa (Tsuda University), Ikuma Ogura (Georgetown University) and Nicholas A. R. Fraser (University of California, Berkeley) presented their paper, “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Willingness to Pay for Online Conspiracy Theory Content – Evidence from Japan.” During their presentation, Cheng and colleagues identified gaps in previous studies on conspiracy theory belief within political science: first, few have explored Japan; and second, few if any explore the extent to which people are who claim belief in conspiracy theories are willing to act on their beliefs. Cheng and co-authors seek to address these points by exploring the extent to which Japanese are willing to pay for online conspiracy theory content. Using a survey experiment that randomly assigns descriptions of hypothetical videos with conspiracy theory content, Cheng and colleagues demonstrate that most Japanese would not be willing to pay for such content. Moreover, they find that men and those who get their news from social media are most likely to pay for online conspiracy theory content.

Discussant comments were offered by Masato Kajimoto (University of Hong Kong) and Joseph Uscinski (University of Miami). In addition to offering insightful comments on research methods, participants discussed what it means to act on conspiracy theory beliefs and the extent to which this may occur in the Japanese context.

This event attracted around forty participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. 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: https://jposs.org/

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