“National Representation and Local Public Expenditure: A Natural Experiment from Japan” by Dr. Haishan Yuan
Dr. Haishan Yuan
School of Economics
The University of Queensland
In Japan’s mixed-member electoral system, a candidate who fails to obtain a plurality of votes in a district can still be elected to a proportional representation (PR) seat through a party list, giving her district two de facto representatives instead of one. By exploiting electoral discontinuities in the allocation of PR seats for causal identification, I find that an additional representative, on average, increases municipal expenditure by 1.4%. Within districts that gain an additional representative, municipalities that lean strongly toward the second representative experience greater increases in public spending, but so do municipalities that vote strongly for the first representative.