Mark Ramseyer and Frances McCall Rosenbluth show how rational-choice theory can be applied to Japanese politics. 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.
Ramseyer and Rosenbluth present a view of Japanese politics that coherently links voters, politicians, bureaucrats, and judges into patterns of interaction governed by the logic of the ‘political marketplace.’ They succeed in demonstrating that many of the analytical tools developed to study the politics of advanced Western democracies are not only applicable in the Japanese context, but also are capable of yielding novel interpretations of politics in Japan.
[A] well researched and carefully thought out study of Japanese politics.
Fodder for scholarly research for years to come.
Japan’s Political Marketplace is irritating in the best sense. It challenges much of what we think we know about Japanese politics with elegant theory, artful arrays of facts, and sharp argument.
As Reggie Jackson said about himself when he was traded to the Yankees, this book may become the ‘stick that stirs the drink’ of Japanese political science. Many readers will love it, many will hate it, both for good reasons. But no one will be able to ignore it.
- Harvard University Press
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