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“Party Competition and Turnout: Evidence from Japan” by Hikaru Yamagishi

October 27, 2021 @ 9:00 am 10:00 am JST

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Authors: Hikaru Yamagishi (Yale).

Abstract: Scholars and observers of Japanese politics have shown the LDP to have a “turnout advantage” under the current mixed-member majoritarian system, but the mechanism remains unclear. If the electorate prefers opposition party policies, why don’t they vote on it? This paper argues that parties’ decisions to coordinate differentially affect voters’ willingness to turn out to vote. For instance, when the opposition is fragmented in Japan, it becomes harder for voters to believe that any one party can unseat the incumbent. In a survey experiment in Japan, I treat respondents with varying scenarios of party competition configurations in an attempt to move their perception of parties’ viability to win a majority in the legislature. The expectation is that the outcomes of self-professed interest in turning out to vote and a behavioral measure of engagement with the election will vary depending on the voter type.

Discussants: Tine N. Paulsen (NYU) and Michael Thies (UCLA).

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