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Positioning under Alternative Electoral Systems: Evidence from Japanese Candidate Election Manifestos

  • AMY CATALINAC (a1)
Abstract

We study a core question of interest in political science: Do candidates position themselves differently under different electoral systems and is their positioning in line with the expectations of spatial theories? We use validated estimates of candidate ideological positions derived from quantitative scaling of 7,497 Japanese-language election manifestos written by the near universe of candidates who competed in the eight House of Representatives elections held on either side of Japan’s 1994 electoral reform. Leveraging variation before and after Japan’s electoral reform, as well as within each electoral system, we find that candidates converge in single-member districts and diverge in multimember districts, and converge on copartisans when not faced with intraparty competition and diverge when they do. Our study helps to clarify debates about the effects of electoral systems on ideological polarization and party cohesion in Japan and more generally.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Amy Catalinac is an Assistant Professor of politics, New York University, 19 West Fourth St., S floor, New York, NY 10012 (amy.catalinac@nyu.edu).
Footnotes
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I wish to thank my editor, Ken Benoit, and three anonymous reviewers for enormously helpful feedback and suggestions. I also wish to thank Gary Cox, Anna De La O, Shinju Fujihira, Yusaku Horiuchi, Mai Hassan, Yut Kamahara, Phillip Lipscy, Chris Lucas, Gwyneth McClendon, Ko Maeda, Kuniaki Nemoto, Steven Reed, Mark Ramseyer, Frances Rosenbluth, Susan C. Stokes, Daniel M. Smith, Arthur Spirling, Harukata Takenaka, and Hikaru Yamagishi; seminar participants at Waseda University, Yale University, University of Chicago, Victoria University of Wellington, and Harvard University; and conference participants at the 2015 Stanford University Summer Juku on Japanese Political Economy, the 2015 Midwest Political Science Association, and the 2015 and 2016 American Political Science Association for invaluable discussion and comments on earlier drafts. This article also benefited from the intellectual environments at New York University, Harvard University, and Australian National University. An earlier version of this article was awarded the Leon Weaver Award from the Representation and Electoral Systems division of the American Political Science Association. Lastly, I am deeply indebted to Yutaka Shinada, who allowed me to use his painstakingly assembled collection of digitized manifestos.

Footnotes
References
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