American and European political scientists have claimed that subnational elections almost always record lower voter turnout than national elections. In Japan, however, municipal elections often record considerably higher turnout than national elections, particularly in small towns and villages. Institutions, Incentives and Electoral Participation in Japan theoretically and empirically explores this puzzling 'turnout twist' phenomenon from comparative perspectives. Based on the rational-choice approach, the book hypothesizes that relative voter turnout in subnational vs. national elections is determined by the relative magnitudes of how much is at stake ('election significance') and how much votes count ('vote significance') in these elections.
'Unquestionably a major contribution to the literature on political participation … an important work in comparative politics.' - Japanese Journal of Political Science
1. Introduction 2. Turnout Twist: Higher Voter Turnout in Lower-Level Elections 3. A Rational Choice Model of Relative Voter Turnout 4. Three Levels of Quantitative Tests 5. Culture or Institutions? Elections in a Traditional Society 6. Conclusion Appendix A. Cross-National Analysis: Data Sources Appendix B. French Communal Elections Appendix C. Survey Data Analysis: Question Wording and Coding Appendix D. A Single Vote Can be Decisive: Examples from Japan Bibliography