comparative politics Japan-related research

JPOSS #28: “Mass Reactions to Endogenous Election Timing: Evidence from Conjoint Experiments in Japan”

The twenty-seventh session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on March 3, 2022. Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Masaaki Higashijima (Tohoku University) presented a paper co-authored with Noaki Shimizu (University of Kochi), Hidekuni Washida (Toyo University), and Yuki Yanai (Kochi University of Technology) which explores how voters react to how incumbent parliamentary governments manipulate the timing of elections. This is an important question not only for Japanese politics given previous scholarship on strategies the Liberal Democratic Party has used to maintain electoral dominance but is also relevant for the broader world as most democratic countries have some form of parliamentary democracy. Higashijima and colleagues take a novel approach to studying manipulation of election timing by drawing on analysis from a series of conjoint survey experiments which confront respondents with different hypothetical scenarios which depict the conditions under which the national government has called an election. They find that independent voters are least likely to support incumbents calling elections when conditions seem to favor the ruling party, but partisan voters care less about electoral manipulation.

Sona N. Golder (Pennsylvania State University) and Charles McClean (University of Michigan) offered helpful comments on theory and research methods. During the Q and A session, participants raised questions about how voters view electoral manipulation and whether some types of manipulation matter more than others.

This event attracted around sixty 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: