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Message from the Director


The Institute of Economic Research (IER) at Hitotsubashi University conducts "comprehensive research on the Japanese economy and the world economy," the statutory objective when the IER was established. Our staff of about thirty faculty members are committed to a rigorous and in-depth approach to their research, while maintaining an intellectually open mindset.

Since its establishment in the 1940s, the crux of IER's research activities has been the collation and supply of historical data on the Japanese economy and society. Since the 1980s, the IER has further expanded its range of research, conducting both theoretical and empirical research and policy analyses linked to economic data, producing many outstanding research outputs. In addition to individual faculty members conducting high-quality research, the IER is positioning itself as a hub for international research networks by conducting multiple large-scale research projects and establishing several affiliated research centers. In FY2022, the IER welcomed 34 researchers as Specially Appointed Professors, Visiting Faculties, and Visiting Scholars. Of these, 26 were overseas researchers (including Japanese researchers affiliated with foreign universities). Almost the same number of domestic researchers engaged in joint research with IER researchers as Research Associates.

In FY2010, the IER was designated as a "Center for Advanced Empirical Analysis of the Japanese and Global Economy" under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)'s Joint Usage and Research Center Program. Since then, the IER has provided an environment that enables efficient and user-friendly access to a wide variety of economic data sets on Japan and other countries--including government survey micro data--catering to a broad range of researchers both in Japan and abroad. In 2021, the IER received the highest "S" rating in the final-year evaluation and new accreditation for the continuation of its activities under the Joint Usage/Integrated Research Center Program for the period from FY2022 to FY2028 by MEXT.

In addition to conducting basic academic research, the IER also undertakes initiatives to address the pressing policy issues that Japan and the world economies face today and aims to contribute to constructive and concrete policy discussions in Japan by presenting the results of economic analyses in an easy-to-understand and useful manner.

Current Major Research Activities
- Measuring productivity in the Japanese economy and exploring its determinants. Construction of a data set for international comparison of productivity in collaboration with overseas researchers and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
- Estimation of long-term income inequality data in Japan and analysis of the sources of variation: International Comparison with Western Countries
- Analysis of the relationship between individual perceptions and economic behavior by conducting large-scale surveys (e.g., the relationship between health awareness and views of happiness, work environments of women and the elderly, savings and portfolio allocation)
- Survey-based analysis of inflation expectations and economic uncertainty. Construction of economic uncertainty indices
- Role of Bayesian learning in the long-term relationships among economic agents with cognitive biases
- Development of time-series models and Bayesian statistical methods and their application to macroeconomic and financial analyses
- Macroeconomic analysis of asset bubbles and policy implications
- Analysis of retail price movements using POS data
- Analysis of the interconnectedness of competition with respect to firms' products and labor markets
- Micro empirical studies of economic development using field surveys (from countries such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.)
- Impact of government intervention on financing and management performance of SMEs during emergencies (e.g., major natural disasters and coronavirus outbreaks)
- Impact of globalization on domestic labor conditions and environmental issues
- Analysis of the Russian economy under economic sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine. Population problems in Russia and the former Soviet Union (declining birth rates and inter-regional migration)
- Completion of the database of the "Asian Historical Statistics Series" (12 planned volumes) and the start of its provision

Highlights of Past Major Research Activities
- Publication of Japan's Long-Term Economic Statistics Series (LTES) in 14 volumes from Toyo Keizai Inc. Improvement of the original LTSE data, including the extension of the dataset to earlier periods. 
- Fundamental research on Japan's long-term economic development.
- Empirical research on the economic development of Asian countries and construction of a related statistical database ("Asian Historical Statistics Series")
- Pioneering research on welfare economics and social choice theory
- Contribution to pension system reform, mainly through the Center for Intergenerational Studies
- Economic analysis of Japan's industrial policies
- Basic research on the economies of the Soviet Union (present-day Russia) and Eastern European countries

April 1, 2023

Director, Institute of Economic Research
Tokuo Iwaisako