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Electoral rules and free trade agreements as a campaign issue: The case of political disputes over the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Japan

Koichi Kagitani and Kozo Harimaya

Japan and the World Economy, 2019, vol. 49, issue C, 126-137

Abstract: This study empirically examines what drives candidates to oppose a free trade agreement (FTA), focusing on the difference in electoral rules and progress of FTA negotiations. We use as case studies Japan's 2013 and 2016 Upper House elections, a main issue of which was the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Candidates’ promises about the TPP are unrelated to whether they run for one-seat, multi-seat, or proportional representation constituencies. Candidates who have more rival candidates belonging to the same party are less supportive of the TPP, whereas candidates who face fiercer competition with rival candidates of other parties are more supportive. This result, however, is not observed after the conclusion of the TPP negotiations. The presence of agriculture in local economies relates to candidates’ opposition of the TPP before the conclusion of negotiations, but not thereafter. Conversely, candidates’ stances on the TPP are affected by their parties’ policies and own ideologies regardless of the different stages of promoting the TPP. These results indicate that the major determinants of candidates’ positions toward an FTA vary according to the changes in circumstances surrounding the FTA.

Keywords: Political economy; Free trade agreement; Electoral rule; Electoral competition; Japan (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F13 D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.japwor.2018.10.004

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