UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Takumi Sakuyama, Meiji University

Electoral Rules and Agricultural Protectionism: The Case of Japan’s Participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Date and Location

Thursday, October 11, 2018, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
ARE Library Conference Room, 4101 Social Sciences and Humanities


This article aims to clarify the linkage between electoral rules and politicians’ protectionist motives. Specifically, hypotheses on the positive impacts of the proportional representation formula and constituency size on candidates’ attitudes toward the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are tested by estimating an ordered probit model using survey data on Japan’s national elections in 2012, 2013, and 2016. By extending the coverage to the upper house elections, this article adds value to the previous literature. The estimation results confirm that proportional representation formula and constituency size have a positive impact on candidates’ support for the TPP in the lower house election in 2012, but have no influence in the upper house elections in 2013 and 2016. Moreover, constituency size is no longer significant once the sample is limited to single-member district candidates even in the 2012 lower house election. It is therefore concluded that, contrary to the previous literature, constituency size that manifests electoral incentives is not a notable cause of candidates’ protectionist bias. In contrast, it is found that candidates’ political ideology, such as their affinity for agriculture and Asia as well as antipathy to small government and immigrants, is proved to be the main drivers of candidates’ protectionist motives.

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