MICHAEL F. THIES
When Will Pork Leave the Farm? Institutional Bias in Japan and the United States
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:467-92

All industrialized countries have seen their populations "urbanize" over time. In democracies, this demographic trend ought to have ramifications for politics and policy. In this paper, I examine the effects of urbanization on agricultural subsidy programs in Japan and the United States. I show that even after malapportionment was dealt with, rural retrenchment was delayed by the balance of power within the majority party in each country. In Japan, once urban members constituted a majority within the ruling party in the House of Representatives, government policy changed quickly and dramatically. In the U.S., powerful House committees and permanent rural over-representation in the U.S. Senate delayed policy change much longer than was true in Japan, which has no similar institutional impediments.


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