Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Democracy
February 13, 2006
Social Sciences Plaza B, Room 5206
University of California, Irvine


A notable feature of the conference was its international make up. Six faculty from Japanese universities attended, and in the audience were researchers and students from Japan, Taiwan, India, Spain, Russia, and the United States. Also notable was the interdisciplinary nature of the conference, including both economists and political scientists as presenters and as discussants.

The morning sessions had three papers, which consisted of theoretical analyses. The topics included why candidates adopt diverging platforms, why an increase in the number of countries participating in programs to reduce risk will lead to little increase in spending on such programs, and how fiscal federalism can promote economic growth. The afternoon session consisted of four empirical papers. Following are some of the findings discussed. Both in Japan and in the United State, governments increase their spending at the end of the fiscal year, though the effect is especially great over the last twenty years. Economic growth in eighteenth-century England was enhanced by the rise of stable governments, and the appearance of a strong office of the prime minister, which allowed the passage of legislation that promoted investment in transportation. The last two decades have seen a decline in the power of interest groups in Japan, and a rise in the power of the prime minister. Some of the change was caused by the move away from electoral districts with multiple members, but another important cause was decreased trust in interest group politics. In the U.S., lobbyists do not buy the votes of congressmen, but instead subsidize the activities of congressmen who already favor the position the lobbyists champion.

The program of the conference follows.

Breakfast: 9:00-9:30
Session I: 9:30-12:15
Kimiko TERAI (Hosei University) Electoral Control over Policy-motivated Candidates and Their Policy Biases
Discussant: Masaru KONO
Marty MCGUIRE (UCI) and Toshihiro IHORI (University of Tokyo) Collective Risk Control and Group Security
Discussant: Igor KOPYLOV
Jan BRUECKNER (UCI) Fiscal Federalism and Economic Growth
Discussant: Toshihiro IHORI

Lunch: 12:15-1:00
Session II: 1:00-2:30
Seiji FUJII (UCI) The Timing of Government Spending in Japan and in the US
Discussant: Masaru KONO
Dan BOGART (UCI) The Role of Political Institutions in Economic Growth: Evidence from Turnpike Acts in Eighteenth-century England
Discussant: Hiroki KONDO
Break 2:30-3:00
Session III: 3:00-4:30
Matthew BECKMANN (UCI) The Legislative Politics Of Protectionism: A Theory Of Lobbyists’ Strategy For Influencing U.S. Trade Policy
Discussant: Takashi FUKUSHIMA
Ikuo KUME (Waseda University) Interest Group Politics in Transition: The Case of Japan
Discussant: Kimiko TERAI


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