Identifying Voter Preferences for Politicians' Personal Attributes: A Conjoint Experiment in Japan

55 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2016 Last revised: 6 Oct 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: June 19, 2018

Abstract

Although politicians' personal attributes are an important component of elections and representation, few studies have rigorously investigated which attributes are most relevant in shaping voters' preferences for politicians, or whether these preferences vary across different electoral system contexts. We investigate these questions with a conjoint survey experiment using the case of Japan's mixed-member bicameral system. We find that the attributes preferred by voters are not entirely consistent with the observed attributes of actual politicians. Moreover, voters' preferences do not vary when asked to consider representation under different electoral system contexts, whereas the observed attributes of politicians do vary across these contexts. These findings point to the role of factors beyond voters' sincere preferences, such as parties' recruitment strategies, the effect of electoral rules on the salience of the personal vote, and the availability of different types of politicians, in determining the nature of representation.

Keywords: representation, electoral systems, personal vote, conjoint analysis, Japan

JEL Classification: C90, D72

Suggested Citation

Horiuchi, Yusaku and Smith, Daniel M. and Yamamoto, Teppei, Identifying Voter Preferences for Politicians' Personal Attributes: A Conjoint Experiment in Japan (June 19, 2018). Political Science Research and Methods, forthcoming; MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2016-32. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2827969 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2827969

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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