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McCubbins and Thies: As a matter of factions

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

McCubbins and Thies. 1997. As a matter of factions: The budgetary implications of shifting factional control in Japan's LDP. LSQ (August).

The model: Simple agenda setting model.

Formal hypothesis: If the factional composition of the LDP mainstream changes from year t1 to year t2, then the amount of money allocated to various programs in the national budget will change as a result, other things equal.

Y = budget decisions [logged year-to-year change in spending for individual budgetary items from 1961 through 1984]

X = change in factional composition of the LDP mainstream

Control for economic growth and unemployment [logged growth in GNP, unemployment rate for previous year]; LDP popularity [opinion polls]; and LDP popularity in election years [opinion polls]. To control for first-order serial correlation in the error matrix, added the lagged dependent variable. Specify effects of coalition change with dummy variables for each faction.


I. Adding a given faction to a given proto-coalition affected policy outcomes 33% of the time.

II. Pork-barrel was affected least often (2/13); public goods the most (6/13) and semi-public goods (5/13). Consistent with the prevailing wisdom that pork is important in Japanese politics; hence not likely to change much across coalitions.

III. (preliminary) Presence of Kishi, when it matters, results in spending increases. Kono and Miki: spending cuts. Ikeda: nothing consistent.

Research by the same authors

Research on similar subjects


McCubbins, Mathew D. (author)Thies, Mike (author)Comparative PoliticsFiscal Policy

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