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The `Turnout Twist' in Japanese Elections
Horiuchi, Yusaku

In the United States, as well as in most other democracies, national elections usually attract more votes than local elections. In Japan, they attract more votes in large municipalities but attract less votes in small municipalities. This paper attempts to explain such a puzzling turnout pattern, which is defined as the ``turnout twist''. The random-effect model estimation and the post-estimation simulation find that the most important variable explaining the turnout twist is the voting-age population per seat. The simulation analysis shows that if this variable did not have any significant effect, national elections would attract more votes than local elections in all municipalities. Since this variable itself and its effect on turnout are largely determined by the disproportional apportionment of seats in both national and local elections, the restrictive regulations to mobilizational activities, and the minimal roles played by political parties in mobilizing votes under the multimember constituency system, the paper concludes that the puzzling turnout twist observed in Japanese elections is a product of Japan's unique institutional arrangements.

Japanese elections
local elections
multiple imputation
random-effect model
voter turnout

icnPdfMini horiu99.pdf


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