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Introduction

History of the Institute of Economic Research as a center for constructing statistical databases on Japan and Asia and a hub for international joint research

The Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University, has played a historical role as a center for joint research on the construction and use of databases for Japanese economic statistics. It has also made contributions to an extent unparalleled by any other facility to the collection and preparation of statistical materials and the construction of databases, such as for the estimation and compilation of the Asian Historical Statistics (ASHSTAT), including Japan’s Long-Term Economic Statistics series (LTES). Moreover, since the late 1990s, it has enthusiastically participated in advancing innovative, large-scale joint research projects in which researchers from Japan and overseas are actively involved.

The Institute as a Joint Usage/Research Center

With this as the background, in June 2009, the Institute was recognized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as a Joint Usage/Research Center. Using this opportunity, and based on its achievements to date, the Institute has maintained a data archive, developed methods of statistical analysis, and aims to further develop as an international joint usage and research center for the advanced empirical analysis of the Japanese and global economies.

With this capacity and as part of its joint-usage activities, the Research Centre for Information and Statistics of Social Science, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University is functioning as the contact point for maintaining and expanding the usage of government statistics microdata and for constructing Japan’s first government statistics microdata center in close collaboration with the National Statistics Center. This endeavor will provide easy access to government statistics as anonymous data to domestic and international researchers and promote the proper use of anonymous data in Japan. At the same time, on the basis of the feedback provided by the research community  regarding data requirements, the Center is exploring new methods of providing anonymous data that improve both access and consistency and contribute to the empirical analysis of microdata in Japan.

Joint research projects include Poverty Reduction, Institutions, Markets, and Policies in Developing Countries: Toward a Theory of Comparative Economic Development (PRIMCED) (Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (S))(2010–2014) and the Hitotsubashi Project on Real Estate, Financial Crisis, and Economic Dynamics (HIT-REFINED) (Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (S))(2013–2017). With the research findings from these sorts of large-scale projects serving as the foundation, the Center will pursue systems and policy research based on quantitative analysis. Please see the webpage provided below for details on the results of research projects conducted to date:

http://www.ier.hit-u.ac.jp/English/project/index.html

A number of these joint research projects will lead to the subsequent development of even bigger joint research projects and the acquisition of large-scale research funding.

Aiming for further development of the Center through broad incorporation of feedback from the research community

The Institute currently maintains close and progressive relationships with various external organizations and research groups. In its operations, the Center strives to understand the opinions and expectations of the external research community with regard to the Institute, in addition to ascertaining the latest academic trends through joint research with these external parties. In terms of formal committees, the Management Committee and the Joint Center Usage & Joint Research Committee have been established at the Center for Empirical Analysis on Japanese and Global Economy. The Management Committee discusses issues related to the management of the Center as a whole, whereas the Joint Center Usage & Joint Research Committee deliberates on issues related to the recruitment and implementation of joint-use and joint-research projects. To ensure that the Institute pays much attention to the opinions and requests of the domestic and international research communities and reflects this feedback in how it runs the Center, majority of the members of both committees are researchers from outside the Institute.