Building: (Building B) Faculty of Law, Administration & Economics Floor: 3rd floor Room: 302
The study of multilevel institutions and territorial politics has regained prominence in recent years. Together, they are increasingly indispensable features in understanding, among other areas, party competition, government formation, and policy-making. More generally, these two features have been shown to have significant implications for the overall quality of democratic representation. Recent literature point to the greater complexity caused by multilevel systems, including the effects of multiple chains of delegation, overlapping layers of partisan competition and avenues for electoral participation. Research on the territorial dimension of politics has also reasserted itself in importance, following recent centrifugal trends of decentralization, regionalism, and de-nationalization of party systems along with re-emerging territorial cleavages.
This panel seeks to engage in these two overlapping and dynamic research fields. It aims to generate new insights and questions by investigating how the interplay of multilevel institutions and territorial politics shape various features of representation. We engage with question of how locally-oriented preferences interact with multilevel governance. The first two papers (Hijino and Kido) in this panel consider the influence of political behaviors at local level on national level politics, while the latter two (Sunahara and Kajiwara) in the panel focus on voter choices shaped by locally-oriented preferences.
First, Hijino analyzes the persistence of territorial concentrations of support for specific parties: i.e. what are commonly called partisan “strongholds”. The paper defines the features and categorize different types of partisan “strongholds” under differing institutional contexts (Japan, UK, Sweden, Canada, and Belgium). His investigation generates inferences about how multilevel features as well as socio-economic variation across territories underpin these non-competitive electoral regions/districts.
Second, Kido examines how the political careers of parliament members in Canada affect their activity as policymakers. The paper compares the behaviour of parliamentarians who have had subnational experience against those without. His findings demonstrate that local and/or provincial politics is largely separated from federal politics in terms of political careers, resulting in more formalized intergovernmental relations of “diplomatic negotiations” between federal and provincial governments.
Third, Sunahara investigates voter fatigue in multilevel electoral settings. Previous studies point out that voters may abstain from subsequent elections due to the participant cost of frequent elections. His study conducts a natural experiment by comparing turnout for electorates in the same administrative district facing serial elections and those that do not in Japan. Tentative results suggest voters in rural areas are more likely to continuously engage in elections without fatigue.
Fourth, Kajiwara analyzes the consequences of reforms in Japan which permit voters to pay a certain proportion of their local tax amount to a local government of their choice. The system overlays an existing system of lateral tax redistribution with a system of “tax donations” based on personal choice and market mechanisms, thereby generating multilevel tensions. He finds that territorial variation in political and socio-economic conditions causes local governments to respond differently to this multilevel environment.