HOMEFaculty ≫ NAKAGAWA, Mariko


Assistant Professor / Research Division of Comparative and World

Specialization: Urban Economics, Spatial Economics


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Previous research

I have been studying minority welfare from the viewpoint of spatial economics. Specifically, I have analyzed how spatially uneven distributions of a minority population affect its welfare, both theoretically and empirically.

As an example, I have analyzed regional segregation with regard to industrial agglomeration and language by incorporating a positive externality stemming from residential clustering of the same linguistic group in a spatial economics model. I have also conducted a theoretical analysis to disentangle the mechanisms that induce racial segregation in a city. In addition, I have analyzed the migration decisions of skilled workers. I have incorporated the difficulty of a skills transfer in a migration decision model, shedding light on the possibility that even skilled workers may not be able to fully capitalize on their skills in the destination country due to language and cultural barriers.

Empirically, I have investigated how communication barriers caused by discrepancies between one's mother tongue and a nation's official language affect the economic levels in a linguistically diverse country. To do so, I calculated a domestic linguistic distance index, which expresses the population-averaged linguistic distance between residents' mother tongues and the nation's official language, and I found that the domestic linguistic distance index is inversely associated with a country's GDP per capita.

Current research projects

I am currently involved in joint work on mutual cultural acceptance in urban areas, with a focus on consumption of ethnic goods such as ethnic cuisine. My coauthors and I are also constructing a model wherein minority individuals endogenously decide whether to assimilate into the majority society by viewing themselves as members of the society.

In addition, I have been collaborating with researchers in other fields over the past few years. Specifically, a researcher in environmental engineering and I are working on a project using spatial data specially collected by flying drones. We will use the data we have collected in the social sciences and we are trying to empirically answer the central question in urban and spatial economics, "Does the agglomeration of economic actors have benefits, and if so, how are those benefits generated?"

urban, regional, spatial, minority