Supporting Redistribution Policies and Market Principle Simultaneously: How to Shape Conflicting Political Beliefs

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Naoki SUDO, Department of Political Studies, Gakushuin University, Japan
Social survey data in Japan indicate that a majority of Japanese support redistribution policies. This can be said to reflect rising social inequalities in the country. However, the same data reveal that many Japanese also support market principle. In fact, their support for market principle has sustained the neo-liberal regime by the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan. At a glance, the Japanese seem to hold conflicting beliefs in social policies. This presentation aims to explain the reason behind it. In order to examine Japanese political attitudes, I used data from the Social Stratification and Social Mobility Survey (SSM 2015, N=7,817), which is one of the nation-wide surveys in Japan. First, I analyzed the data of SSM 2015 by using a finite mixture regression model. This resulted in the extraction of two latent groups: one that did not simultaneously support redistribution policies and market principle, and the other that supported them simultaneously. Next, by examining the differences between the two, I clarified the reason behind the latter group’s simultaneous support of redistribution policies and market principle. Surprisingly, the members of this group belonged to a relatively disadvantaged class in society. Although economically deprived and not highly educated, this group is more likely to support market principle. Additionally, they are more likely to support authoritarian attitudes. This finding suggests that the inconsistent belief in social policies among the Japanese is shaped by unquestioning obedience to authorities, political leaders, experts, and intellectuals, even though they are often opposing each other. The inconsistent belief in social policies among the Japanese is a kind of rational judgment, as they only entrust the answers of intractable problems into the hands of the authorities.