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Does international trade competition influence candidates and voters? The case of Japanese Lower House elections

Koichi Kagitani and Kozo Harimaya

Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, 2020, vol. 57, issue C

Abstract: In this study, we explore the effects of regional exposure to manufacturing imports and exports on candidates and voters in national elections through panel data analyses, dealing with the possible endogeneity issues. We show that candidates tailor their stances toward trade policy in response to changes in local trade exposure. Increased manufacturing exports drive candidates to support relatively open trade policies; however, increased manufacturing imports do not influence candidates’ stances on trade policy. We also find that changes in local trade exposure influence citizens’ voting behavior. In districts with increased exports of manufacturing products, voters tend to cast ballots for parties that pledge to promote a free trade agreement as opposed to those that adopt a cautious attitude toward it. In districts that experience increased imports of manufacturing products, voters tend to support parties that are clearly opposed to establishing it. The economic issues related to international trade appear to be important to both candidates and voters in elections.

Keywords: Trade competition; Trade policy; Election; Candidates’ policy; Voter support (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 F13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jjie.2020.101091

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