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Sota Kato

Sota Kato

Research Category

Comparative political economy

Area of Interest

Comparative theory of state-corporate relations, public opinion and political parties / economic policy, methodology of political science


Recent Thoughts


(1) Risk theory perspective on democracy, electoral systems, and voting behavior

I am interested in the link between the risk-seeking tendencies of voters and different types of political institutions (electoral systems, constitutional systems, etc). For example, I have been thinking about whether the acts of voters could be better explained by including their risk-seeking tendencies as a variable, how those tendencies interact with things like the electoral system, and how the risks inherent to the electoral system affect political outcomes. I believe that to date there has been virtually no research analyzing political institutions and political behaviors from the perspective of risk theory. Yet Madison, writing in The Federalist at the time of the founding of the United States, offered a variety of perspectives bearing the characteristics of risk theory (such as expanding electoral districts) as methods of restricting the “Tyranny of the Many.” It would also be difficult to explain Germany’s system of “Fortified Democracy,” which was a response to the lessons learned during the Nazi period, without adopting a risk theory perspective. Together with experts in financial engineering, I have begun conducting a variety of statistical analyses and simulations suited to each type of electoral system.

(2) Time Lag in Institutional Transformation and its Influences

It takes time for an entire institution to change, which means that no matter how comprehensive such changes might be, institutional complementarity will temporarily break down, resulting in a temporary negative effect on performance in every field. I am attempting to demonstrate this by examining everything from extremely micro case examples to much larger macro examples. In particular, I want to examine the political influence of these temporary negative effects more closely, as well as their influence on the course of institutional change and its results.


  • “Determinants of Institutionalized Protectionism: Japanese Trade Politics, 1955- 1994.” University of Michigan.
  • “When to Dissolve?: Black- Scholes Approach to Endurance of Cabinets.” Forthcoming, Comparative Politics.

Recent/Ongoing Works

  • “Institutional Changes, Institutional Complementarities and Economic Outputs. Japanese Political Economy 1985-2000.” Research design presented at the Workshop on Transitional Economies, Davidson Institute, University of Michigan. April 2006.
  • “Democratic Risk Management.” Co-written with Seisho Sato. Mimeo.

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