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--> Civil Society <--
My 2006 book from Stanford University Press, Japan's Dual Civil Society: Members without Advocates, addresses civil society and this is one of the areas of my greatest research interest.

cover for Japan’s Dual Civil Society

-->  Political Parties and Legislative Organization in Japan <--
Another major research area for me is the organization of political parties and legislative organization in Japan, especially the Liberal Democratic Party.

--> Comparative Political Parties and Legislative Organization <--
I am also interested in comparative analysis of legislative organization and political parties.

--> Comparative Civil Society Research <--
This includes the JIGS 2 comparative research project.

--> Neighborhood Associations <--
I am currently working on a book with Yutaka Tsujinaka and Hidehiro Yamamoto that utilizes data from the first ever nationwide survey of NHAs in Japan






C O M P A R A T I V E   P O L I T I C A L   P A R T I E S  &  L E G I S L A T I V E   O R G A N I Z A T I O N

 The third stage of the project discussed on the Political Parties and Legislative Organization in Japan page broadens the scope of the research to incorporate comparisons with legislatures and parties in other states. This began when I was awarded an Abe Fellowship (2005-2006) to pursue comparisons of Japan with Italy and New Zealand. Now, along with Matthew Søberg Shugart and Ellis Krauss (both UCSD), I am currently in the midst of an ambitious comparative project funded by the National Science Foundation.


Ellis Krauss, Matt Shugart, and Robert Pekkanen

 T   The project is entitled "Electoral Systems and Party Personnel: The Consequences of Reform and Non-Reform" and is funded (2008-2012) by the National Science Foundation through its Political Science Program. The generous funding of well over $500,000 allows us conduct a study that we hope will make important theoretical and empirical contributions. The Principal Investigators (PIs) are Ellis Krauss, Robert Pekkanen and Matthew Shugart. Our aim is to examine how electoral systems affect what we call "party personnel strategies" (encompassing both party nomination and ranking strategies as well as party and legislative organization). To do this, we employ analysis of eight countries--four of which experienced electoral system change (the other four are control or "steady-state" cases for us): Bolivia, Germany, Portugal, Japan, New Zealand, Ukraine, Lithuania and the United Kingdom. Because of the vast scope of the project, a number of excellent collaborators will play a vital role in the project. In addition, we have been able to also add data on Israel already. More recently, funding from the Italian government to Prof. Luciano Bardi will allow us to add the Italy case.

Electoral-system types and country cases

Electoral System

Steady-state cases

Countries changing from this system

New system for change cases

Nominal (SSD)


New Zealand


List (PR)







List (PR)









SSD= Single Seat District. PR= Proportional Representation. MMP= Mixed Member Proportional. MMM= Mixed Member Majoritarian. SNTV= Single Non-Transferable Vote.


I also coauthored a piece on legislative organization under New Zealand's mixed-member proportional electoral system.

"Legislative organization in MMP: The case of New Zealand." Kuniaki Nemoto, Robert Pekkanen, Ellis S. Krauss, and Nigel S. Roberts. Party Politics. Forthcoming, but available online on the party politics website now.


How do electoral systems affect legislative organization? The change in electoral systems from Single Member District plurality (SMD) to Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) in New Zealand can illuminate how electoral incentives affect the distribution of cabinet positions. Because in SMD the outcome of individual local districts determines the number of seats a party wins collectively, New Zealand parties deploy cabinet posts in order to shore up the electoral fortunes of individual members. In MMP, the total number of seats a party receives is determined by the votes in the proportional representation (PR) portion for the party, which eliminates the incentives to reward electorally unsafe members with cabinet positions. We show that strong cabinet members, measured through experience as prior terms in the cabinet position, are still likely to be retained.

And another piece on mixed member systems is scheduled for publication in Comparative Political Studies in 2012 (volume 45, issue 6). "Reverse Contamination: Burning and Building Bridges in Mixed-Member Systems." Coauthored with Kuniaki Nemoto and Ellis S. Krauss.