Reapportionment and Redistribution: Consequences of Electoral Reform in Japan


  • The earlier drafts of this article were presented at Jisshō Seiji Bunseki Kenkyū-kai (Tokyo, June 2001), the 2001 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (San Francisco, September 2001), and Political Science Department Seminar, National University of Singapore (Singapore, September 2001). We would like to thank the participants at these seminars and conference for their helpful comments and suggestions. Horiuchi also acknowledges the financial support of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at National University of Singapore. All analyses and arguments in this article are of the authors, not of any institution to which the authors are affiliated.

Yusaku Horiuchi is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, National University of Singapore, Block AS1, Level 4, 11 Arts Link, Singapore 117570 ( Jun Saito is a Doctoral Candidate, Department of Political Science, Yale University, P.O. Box 208301, New Haven, CT 06520-8301 ( He is also a member of the House of Representatives, Japan.


Does reapportionment in a legislature affect policy outcomes? We examine this question from a comparative perspective by focusing on reapportionment associated with the electoral reform in Japan. First, we show that the reform of 1994 resulted in an unprecedented degree of equalization in legislative representation. Second, using municipal-level data, we present evidence that municipalities in overrepresented districts received significantly more subsidies per capita, as compared to those in underrepresented districts, in both prereform and postreform years. Third, by examining the relationship between the change in the number of seats per capita and the change in the amount of subsidies per capita at the municipal level, we show that the equalization in voting strength resulted in an equalization of total transfers per person.