Measuring Voters’ Multidimensional Policy Preferences with Conjoint Analysis: Application to Japan’s 2014 Election

Political Analysis, Vol. 26, Issue 2, pp. 190-209, April 201

MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2016-33

57 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2015 Last revised: 1 Jul 2018

See all articles by Yusaku Horiuchi

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Daniel M. Smith

Harvard University - Department of Government

Teppei Yamamoto

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: August 11, 2017

Abstract

Representative democracy entails the aggregation of multiple policy issues by parties into competing bundles of policies, or ``manifestos,'' which are then evaluated holistically by voters in elections. This aggregation process obscures the multidimensional policy preferences underlying a voter's single choice of party or candidate. We address this problem through a conjoint experiment based on the actual party manifestos in Japan's 2014 House of Representatives election. By juxtaposing sets of issue positions as hypothetical manifestos and asking respondents to choose one, our study identifies the effects of specific positions on the overall assessment of manifestos, heterogeneity in preferences among subgroups of respondents, and the popularity ranking of manifestos. Our analysis uncovers important discrepancies between voter preferences and the portrayal of the election result by politicians and the media as providing a policy mandate to the Liberal Democratic Party, underscoring the potential danger of inferring public opinion from election outcomes alone.

Keywords: election, representation, manifesto, conjoint analysis, Japan

JEL Classification: C1; C42; C91; C93; D72; D78; M3

Suggested Citation

Horiuchi, Yusaku and Smith, Daniel M. and Yamamoto, Teppei, Measuring Voters’ Multidimensional Policy Preferences with Conjoint Analysis: Application to Japan’s 2014 Election (August 11, 2017). Political Analysis, Vol. 26, Issue 2, pp. 190-209, April 201; MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2016-33. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2627907 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2627907

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/

Daniel M. Smith

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/danielmarkhamsmith

Teppei Yamamoto

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

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