Young people are underrepresented in most political institutions. Yet, there is a lack of research on either the causes behind the shortage of younger politicians or the potential consequences for policy outcomes. Understanding whether younger and older policymakers behave differently in office is especially important in advanced democracies such as Japan that confront declining birthrates and rapidly aging populations.
In McClean's book project, he uses original, municipal-level data in Japan to examine whether institutional factors can help explain the variation in the age of politicians across elected offices, whether voters have preferences concerning their representatives’ ages, and whether the shortage of younger politicians matters for welfare policy. In this talk, he will focus especially on this last question by discussing how the age of politicians affects how they allocate government spending on social welfare between age groups and over time.
Speaker: Charles McClean, Toyota Visiting Professor, Center for Japanese Studies, U-M