Early-Career Scholar Forum

Leaning to the Left: Political Consequences of the Financial Crisis

Friday, 18 February 2022 | 12:15 - 13:00 (JST)
Zoom Meeting  登録はこちら
  • Miku Matsunaga Postdoctoral Project Researcher, Graduate School of Economics, Center for Research and Education in Program Evaluation (CREPE), the University of Tokyo
  • Sawako Shirahase TCJS Director

Do political actors change their positions in response to the crisis? This article studies the effect of the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis on the change of political behavior. Focusing on industrialized countries, I argue that both parties and voters are more likely to update their economic and ideological positions towards left-ward after the crisis. The approach for testing the argument consists of a party-level analysis and an individual-level difference-in-differences design. The cross-national party-level study suggests that both left and right-wing parties are more likely to update their economic positions to the left after the crisis. A case study of the Japanese 2009 General Election shows that this “liberalization” trend is strong enough to cause the regime change from the long-standing mainstream right party (LDP) to the center-left party (DPJ). The results have broad implications for understanding the political behavior resulting in the crisis.


Miku Matsunaga is a postdoctoral project researcher at the University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics, and Center for Research and Education in Program Evaluation (CREPE). Her main research interest includes election violence, (radical) populist parties, Political Economy, and International Relations. After receiving an LL.B in International legal studies, she earned MPP from the University of Tokyo, an MA in Politics from New York University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Essex.