This study examines the impact of women's radio programs that the US-led occupying force aired in Japan (1945-1952) to dismantle the prewar patriarchal norms. Using local variation in radio signal strength driven by soil conditions as an instrumental variable, I provide causal evidence that greater exposure to women's radio programs increases women's electoral turnout, which further translates into a greater vote share for female candidates. This positive effect contributes to women's greater representation in the national legislature: had there not been women's radio programs in place, the number of female winners would have been halved. Moreover, exposure to women's radio programs contributes to a decline in fertility and therefore had an important implication for the nation's demographic landscape. The declining fertility is due neither to an increase in women's career aspirations nor to a decline in marriages. My results are not driven by a preexisting correlation between radio signal strength and women's behavior before the US occupation. Although research shows that gender norms have historical roots and move slowly, my findings provide evidence that public policy can cut against them to promote equal participation in decision-making.
Electoral formulas and women's representation (2020)
Do electoral formulas affect the degree to which female legislators focus on women’s interests in the parliamentary processes? This study tests whether a single-member district (SMD) formula (vis-a-vis proportional representation or PR) constrains women from focusing on women's interests. To elicit the causal impact of electoral formulas, I leverage the unique ``best loser'' provision of the mixed electoral system in the Japanese House of Representatives elections, where a marginal candidate may win an SMD seat or PR seat by chance. To fully account for the complex structure of the mixed electoral system, I apply the simulation-based regression discontinuity design. I find that female PR legislators more frequently join committees on women's interests than their male counterparts, but significantly less so when they stand as SMD representatives. This is likely because it is too costly not to address men's interests when a female legislator represents a small district. My results suggest that electoral formulas do affect the relationship between women's descriptive and substantive representation. My findings also underscore the importance that an institutional environment needs to reduce the cost of acting on behalf of different identity groups in order to make use of diverse voice in policy makings.
Intrahousehold welfare (2019, with Pierre-André Chiappori and Costas Meghir)
Measuring individual-level well-being is crucial when we think about public policy, and existing literature has shown that substantial inequality is hidden within the household (Lise & Seitz, 2011). Earlier work has addressed such intra-household inequality, but it has yet to account for household public goods when measuring it. To shed light on this issue, we develop a new way to measure intra-household inequality that reflects individual well-being derived from household public goods. Using a collective household model, we defined the Money Metric Welfare Index (MMWI), which is essentially a monetary amount that a person would need to reach the current utility level if she were to pay the full price of household public goods. We show that the MMWI is uniquely identified up to an increasing transformation. Then we structurally estimate the collective household model and compute the MMWI using the Japanese Panel Survey of Consumers (JPSC). The JPSC is particularly suitable for our purpose because it provides variables that the MMWI requires, including expenditure for household public goods and time use. Estimated MMWI allows us to see how the intrahousehold inequality evolved in the last 20 years.
PublicationsYasuyuki Sawada, Hiroyuki Nakata, and Kunio Sekiguchi (2018), Economic Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 38(1), pages 89-97)William duPont IV, Ilan Noy, and Yasuyuki Sawada (2015), PLoS ONE 10(10))
Selected work in progress
The Consequences of Increased Women's Representation in Politics: Evidence from Japan (2018)
Causes and consequences of the sex segregation in college major (with Mika Akesaka)