Japan's Political Marketplace
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Japan's Political Marketplace by J. Mark Ramseyer
Book DescriptionWhen discussing Japanese politics or the Japanese legal system, many scholars point to the peculiarities of the country's culture - its need for consensus, its rejection of individualism, its Confucian fascination with loyalty. Other scholars simply invent new theories ad hoc to explain what they see. But is Japan really so different that general social scientific theories don't apply? Ramseyer and Rosenbluth don't think so, and in this book they show how rational-choice theory can be applied to Japanese politics, with telling results. Contrary to general assumptions, the authors argue that the institutional framework of government - the rules of the game among political players - decisively shapes the character of political competition and incentives in Japan. They show how players in this competition adapt their organizations to the existing framework and at the same time try to manipulate it to their own advantage. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is a case in point. In a detailed analysis, we see the LDP working within Japanese electoral rules to maximize its success with voters, and within constitutional constraints to enforce its policies on bureaucrats and judges. Surprisingly, the authors find that Liberal Democratic Party backbenchers effectively control factional and party bosses; that the LDP collectively keeps bureaucratic action closely in line with its preferences; and that the Japanese judiciary is also an agent of the legislative majority. Using the concept of principal and agent, Ramseyer and Rosenbluth construct a persuasive account of political relationships in Japan. In doing so, they demonstrate that political considerations and institutional arrangements reign in what, to most of the world, looks like an independently powerful bureaucratic state. Their book aims to influence our understanding of the Japanese political order and legal system. As a rational-choice analysis of an entire national political system, it should also affect the way we approach comparative politics and comparative law more generally.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780674472815
(235mm x 155mm x 14mm)
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 6-Mar-1997
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author J. Mark Ramseyer
Odd Markets in Japanese History, Paperback (January 2008)
This book uses a rational-choice approach to study the impact of Japanese law on economic growth in Japan.
Fable of the Keiretsu, Hardback (June 2006)
For Western economists and journalists, the most distinctive facet of the post-war Japanese business world has been the keiretsu, or the insular business alliances among powerful corporations. This book shows that the very idea of the keiretsu was created and propagated by Marxist scholars in post-war Japan.
Distribution in Japan, Hardback (January 2002)» View all books by J. Mark Ramseyer
Several years have passed since the "store wars" over barriers to foreign products at Japanese distribution firms. Yet among English-speaking readers, how these firms operate remains a puzzle. In this title, Japanese scholars in their fields attempt to unravel that puzzle.
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Author Biography - J. Mark Ramseyer
J. Mark Ramseyer is Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese Legal Studies, Harvard University Law School. Frances McCall Rosenbluth is Professor of Political Science at Yale University.
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