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Report on “Cycles of Failure. Party Strategy, Public Mood and Radical Right Formation in Japan”, by Lewis Luartz of the University of California Riverside

On January 28, the Center for Positive/Empirical Analysis of Political Economy of the Top Global University Project and the Waseda Institute of Political Economy (WINPEC) Public Opinion Survey Methodology Research Group (organized by Professor Airo Hino) hosted a seminar by Lewis Luartz, doctoral candidate (ABD) at the University of California Riverside, focusing on determinants of radical right party formation in Japan.

Lewis, whose research interests mainly focus on the interaction between the demand and supply side of politics in the Western European and Asian contexts, started his presentation with a brief review of the main explanations provided so far on this topic, then arguing for the necessity of a more political science-oriented model centered on the relative stability of the Japanese party system.



The working hypothesis he proposed in this respect is that when parties shift away from their established positions, in presence of widespread feelings of discontent in the public, the likelihood of new radical right party formation increases. The analyses Lewis presented tested such assumption based on a new measure of party strategy applied to data from the Comparative Manifesto Project (MARPOR), and on individual-level data from “The Public Opinion Survey on the Life of the People”, conducted by the Cabinet Office. The analyses relied on the Bayesian structural vector autoregression analysis (B-SVAR) presented in Ohmura (2018) in order to carefully assess the causal mechanisms between different variables and thus avoid so-called endogeneity problems.

After the presentation, the speaker engaged in a fruitful discussion with the audience in relation to topics such as the role of possibly additional predictors (e.g. citizens’ levels of political sophistication and parties’ electoral success at previous election rounds) and the refinement of the data sources used.

Ultimately, Lewis Luartz performed a highly interesting seminar, relevant to the research interests of the sponsoring groups and offering a useful opportunity to reflect on the interaction between the demand and the supply side of politics in Japan and on its empirical modelling.

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