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comparative politics international relations

JPOSS #17 “Global Value Chains and Domestic Politics Response to Trade: China, Japan, and the United States Compared”

The seventeenth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on June 24, 2021. Phillip Lipscy (University of Toronto) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Hiroki Takeuchi (Southern Methodist University) presented his paper, “Global Value Chains and Domestic Politics Response to Trade: China, Japan, and the United States Compared.” In his presentation, Takeuchi discussed his research on the politics of trade in the three largest economies (the US, China, and Japan) with a focus on how each has responded to the rise of Global Value Chains (GVCs) characterized by multi-stage manufacturing in which various stages of production occur in different countries. This topic has profound implications for the politics of international trade because GVCs challenge conventional rules governing international trade and in many cases have fundamentally altered manufacturing in some cases triggering public backlashes against international trade. Of particular interest was the way in which Takeuchi articulated how GVCs have altered the ways in which states make rules on international trade and commit to controversial domestic reforms such as pressures on China to change the way state-owned enterprises (SOEs) function.

Discussant comments were offered by Patricia Maclachlan (University of Texas at Austin) and Ka Zeng (University of Arkansas). The discussion raised interesting questions about the politics of trade in Japan and other developed countries as well as the ability of the US to re-emerge on as a world leader on trade policy. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions pertaining to thematic focus, research methods and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted close to thirty 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/

Categories
comparative politics international relations

JPOSS #16 “Taking Gains from Trade (More) Seriously: The Effects of Consumer Perspective on Free Trade in Contemporary Japan”

The sixteenth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on June 10, 2021. Christina L. Davis (Harvard University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Yu Jin Woo (Waseda University) presented her paper with Ikuo Kume (Waseda University), “Taking Gains from Trade (More) Seriously: The Effects of Consumer Perspective on Free Trade in Contemporary Japan.” In her presentation, Woo explained her collaborative research exploring why the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was able to consistently pursue negotiations to establish the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations without losing public support, an important question that has implications for how political scientists understand the politics of international trade. Existing studies have commonly assumed that citizens form policy preferences on trade liberalization by thinking of themselves as producers based on their specific or general skill level or employment concerns. Woo and Kume challenge this conventional approach by recognizing that economic preferences are shaped by the way in which individuals view themselves as producers and consumers. Drawing on analysis from a survey experiment, they find that the LDP enjoyed sustained public support due to increasing sensitivity to the costs of consumer goods, which is especially strong among LDP supporters.

Discussant comments were offered by Eddie Hearn (Musashi University) and Soo Yeon Kim (National University of Singapore). The discussion raised interesting questions about the politics of trade in Japan and other developed countries. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions pertaining to research methods and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted over thirty 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/

Categories
comparative politics international relations

JPOSS #15 “Elderly Identity and Trade Policy Preferences in an Aging Society: Evidence from Japan”

The fifteenth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on May 27, 2021. Amy Catalinac (New York University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Yesola Kweon (Utah State University) presented her paper, “Elderly Identity and Trade Policy Preferences in an Aging Society: Evidence from Japan.” In her presentation, Kweon discussed her research on an understudied topic within political science and the social sciences more broadly, the policy preferences of older citizens. Existing studies assume that senior citizens are favorable toward trade as they assess the topic only as consumers who stand to benefit from more affordable imported goods. Kweon challenges this assumption using analysis from a survey experiment conducted in Japan, an aging society. Her study finds that in aged regions where elderly poverty is a more pressing issue, senior citizens are more likely to oppose trade and implies that assumptions within existing studies of trade politics about how age influences policy preferences should be re-examined.

Discussant comments were offered by Andy Baker (University of Colorado Boulder) and Megumi Naoi (University of California, San Diego). The discussion raised interesting questions about the politics of trade, socio-economic inequality and dislocation as well as the distribution of social welfare in developed countries with ageing populations including but not limited to Japan. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions pertaining to research methods and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted many 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/

Categories
comparative politics international relations Japan-related research

JPOSS #5 “Advisors or Agents? Bureaucratic Structure and the Politics of Trade Protection”

The fifth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on October 15, 2020. Christina Davis (Harvard) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Diana Stanescu (Harvard University) presented an overview of her doctoral thesis, “Advisors or Agents? Bureaucratic Structure and the Politics of Trade Protection.” In her presentation, Stanescu explored an important player in trade politics that extant studies have tended to overlook–namely, bureaucrats. Leveraging WTO reports, her research introduces an original time-series cross-sectional data-set that measures the institutional design of state bureaucracies engaged in trade policy covering 135 countries for over a 20 year period. Stanescu empirically tests the effect of bureaucracies on non-tariff barriers – a form of administered protection. She finds that bureaucracies with apolitical expertise implement policies that are less protectionist than those that engage active industry participation, controlling for macroeconomic shocks and confounders for institutional design. Stanescu also presented findings from a case study of Japan to illustrate her argument’s causal mechanism.

Consistent with job talk formats at many post-secondary institutions, this practice job talk allowed the presenter to engage in a lively discussion with various audience members on the substance of her research. The question and answer session that followed Stanescu’s presentation raised questions about the impact that bureaucrats have on trade policy in general but especially in the Japanese context. The audience also provided many constructive suggestions pertaining to theory and research methods.

This event attracted over thirty participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. The organizers would like to thank the presenter, 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/