Who Answers for the Government? Bureaucrats, Ministers, and Responsible Parties (with Max Goplerud)
Please arrive 5 minutes before event begins.
A key feature of parliamentary democracy is government accountability vis-à-vis the legislature, but the important question of who speaks for the government—cabinet ministers or unelected bureaucrats, and the institutional underpinnings of this behavior—receives scant attention in the existing literature. We investigate this question with the case of Japan, and data on millions of committee speeches spanning distinct electoral and legislative institutional environments. We document how a party-strengthening electoral system reform in 1994 facilitated a dramatic shift in the nature of government accountability to parliament: speeches by ministers increased, speeches by bureaucrats decreased, and discursive accountability between ministers and opposition legislators increased. Subsequent legislative reforms expanding junior ministerial roles and placing explicit limits on bureaucratic participation further reinforced the effects. These findings shed new light on the institutional foundations of responsible party government in general, as well as its progressive development in Japan.
Date: 27 November 2020, 12:30 (Friday, 7th week, Michaelmas 2020)
Venue: Colloquium to be hosted on Zoom
Speaker: Daniel M. Smith (Harvard University)
Organising department: Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR)
Organisers: Petra Schleiter (DPIR), Nelson Ruiz (University of Oxford)
Part of: Politics Research Colloquium
Booking required?: Not required
Booking email: events@politics.ox.ac.uk
Audience: This colloquium is usually a closed event to members of Oxford, but this Michaelmas Term, we are delighted to be able to open this event to external attendees. Please email events@politics.ox.ac.uk to book your place using your official University email address. (If you are a member of Oxford, email us, and you can be added to the Politics Research Colloquium mailing list, you do not need to book your place and joining details will be emailed to you).
Editor: Hannah Vinten