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“Crafting International Apologies That Work: A Conjoint Analysis Approach” by Shoko Kohama, Kazunori Inamasu, Toshiyuki Himichi, Nobuhiro Mifune, Yohsuke Ohtsubo, and Atsushi Tago

June 3, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am

[Paper, Slides]

Authors: Shoko Kohama (Hokkaido University), Kazunori Inamasu (Kwansei-Gakuin University), Toshiyuki Himichi (Kochi University of Technology), Nobuhiro Mifune (Kochi University of Technology), Yohsuke Ohtsubo (Kobe University), and Atsushi Tago (Waseda University).

Abstract: Post-war reconciliation is a serious challenge in the Asia-Pacific region. International apologies made by a political leader of the perpetrator’s country, if carefully crafted, are found to bring about a rapprochement between the perpetrator and the victimized countries (Lind, 2011). However, few quantitative studies have been done to identify attributes of international apologies that are more likely to be accepted by the citizens of the victimized country. Studies on inter-personal apologies demonstrate that costly apologies signal the perpetrator’s sincerity and modify punitive actions by the victim (e.g. Ohtsubo and Watanabe, 2009). Similarly, in the context of international relations, apologies conveying the perpetrator’s sincerity are found to be effective. For example, Long and Brecke (2003) show that successful reconciliatory initiatives involve four elements: novelty, vulnerability (ones making political leaders vulnerable), voluntariness, and irrevocability. Additionally, reparation offered to the victimized group would naturally serve as a costly signal. Building on these works, this study examines the relative significance of the above five attributes using a conjoint analysis approach. It exploits an online panel of Japanese nationals and hypothetical apologies made by the US president to Japan. We consider five issues for which the president apologizes, including the use of A-bombs, air-raids during WWII, a sexual crime committed by an American soldier, an accident involving a US merchagthjjknt ship, and the president’s misbehavior, and apologies associated with President Trump or the former President Obama. Exposed to one of these scenarios, respondents choose between two apology profiles whose values are randomly drawn, and complete five tasks in total. The survey was conducted in March 2020.

Cohost: Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth).

Discussants: Jonathan Chu (Penn), Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth), Risa Kitagawa (Northeastern), and Jennifer Lind (Dartmouth).


June 3
9:00 am - 10:00 am

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