Cultivating Rice and Votes: The Institutional Origins of Agricultural Protectionism in Japan

Journal of East Asian Studies, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 425-452, 2010

Posted: 28 Sep 2011

See all articles by Yusaku Horiuchi

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Jun Saito

Yale University

Date Written: November 1, 2010

Abstract

We explore in this article an institutional foundation of agricultural protectionism in Japan, a country long recognized as resisting international pressures to open up its rice market. Using our qualitative analysis of postwar politics of agricultural protectionism and a simple formal model, we argue that farmers in Japan have stronger incentives to mobilize electoral support for the governing party in multimember district systems than in single-member district systems, because the marginal effects of mobilization on policy benefits are different under these electoral systems. Our empirical findings corroborate this claim and provide implications for the gradual changes in Japan's farm policies occurring after the electoral reform in 1994.

Keywords: electoral systems, protectionism, agrarian politics, mobilization, natural experiment, SNTV, MMD, Japan

JEL Classification: D72, P32, Q18

Suggested Citation

Horiuchi, Yusaku and Saito, Jun, Cultivating Rice and Votes: The Institutional Origins of Agricultural Protectionism in Japan (November 1, 2010). Journal of East Asian Studies, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 425-452, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1934681

Yusaku Horiuchi (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.dartmouth.edu/horiuchi/

Jun Saito

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

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