Parallel Politics: Economic Policymaking in Japan and the United States

Samuel Kernell, ed.
April 1991

The quest by Japan and the United States to form a new partnership suited to the radically different world of the 1990s requires an understanding of each other’s society instead of harping on cultural differences. This book stresses the similarities in economic policymaking in the two countries.
Part 1 examines Japanese and American political institutions; part 2 the role of politics in the budget process; part 3 efforts to enact tax reforms; part 4 the government’s efforts to shape economic development and help disadvantaged constituencies. The concluding section stresses the links between elected officials, the electorate, and the legislative system—the hallmarks of a democratic society—that encourage “the primacy of politics in economic policy” in both countries.
Parallel Politics is the outgrowth of an eighteen-month seminar of Japanese and American scholars sponsored by the Brookings Institution and the Japan Center for International Exchange; the latter also served as co-publisher of the book.


1. The Need for a Comparative Perspective
Samual Kernell, Professor of Political Science and Coordinator, American Political Institutions Project, University of California at San Diego
2. Political Institutions and the American Economy
John E. Chubb, Senior Fellow, Brookings Governmental Studies Program
Paul E. Peterson, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and Director, Center for American Policy Studies, Harvard University
3. The Japanese Politico-Economic System and the Public Sector
Eisuke Sakakibara, Director General, Tokai Local Finance Bureau, Ministry of Finance
4. Budget Policymaking in Japan
Yukio Noguchi, Professor of Economics, Hitotsubashi University
5. The Surprising Enactment of Tax Reform in the United States
Allen Schick, Professor of Public Policy and Director, Bureau of Governmental Research, University of Maryland
6. Introducing a New Tax in Japan
Michio Muramatsu, Professor of Law, Kyoto University
Masaru Mabuchi, Associate Professor of Law, Osaka University
7. Comparative Structural Policies
Roger G. Noll, Morris M. Doyle Centennial Professor in Public Policy, Stanford University
Haruo Shimada, Professor of Economics, Keio University
8. Structural Policies in the United States
Roger G. Noll
9. Structural Policies in Japan
Haruo Shimada
10. The Primacy of Politics in Economic Policy
Samuel Kernell
Copyright © 1991 The Brookings Institution, Washington DC. All Rights Reserved.
ISBN 0-8157-4892-2; 403 pages