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Constituency systems, election proximity, special interests and a free trade agreement: the case of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Japan

Koichi Kagitani () and Kozo Harimaya ()
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Koichi Kagitani: Kobe City University of Foreign Studies
Kozo Harimaya: Ritsumeikan University

International Economics and Economic Policy, 2020, vol. 17, issue 4, No 5, 897-922

Abstract: Abstract This study explores the effect of electoral systems on politicians’ stances regarding free trade agreements. Utilizing the institutional features of the Japanese election system, we empirically investigate how electoral systems affect Diet members’ responsiveness to agricultural organizations’ protests against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Japan. This study shows that, even when controlling for differences in constituency size, Diet members elected in the proportional-representation constituency tend not to support the farm lobbies’ protest against the TPP, regardless of the length of their remaining terms of office. Conversely, constituency size does not affect legislators’ stances toward the TPP after controlling for the types of constituency systems in which they are involved. This study also finds that Diet members other than those elected from the proportional-representation constituency tend not to support the anti-TPP campaign when their next election is farther away. These results hold even when using another explained variable. The types of constituency systems and election proximity play key roles in shaping legislators’ trade policy stances.

Keywords: Political economy; Free trade agreement; Constituency system; Election proximity; Special interests; F13; D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10368-020-00463-5

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