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Message from the Director

Thank you for visiting the website of the Institute of Economic Research (IER), Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan. My name is Takashi Kurosaki, the director of the IER since April 1, 2021. My research area is development economics, with a theoretical focus on microeconomic behavior of low-income households and communities under incomplete markets, and an empirical focus on economic development in South Asia, especially in Pakistan and India. Since I moved to the IER in 1997, I have benefited from the accumulated knowledge, library materials, database, and networks at the IER on long-term economic development in Japan and East Asia. Therefore, I renewed my commitment to advance the IER tradition when I assumed the post of the IER Director on April 2021.

Then what is the IER tradition? The IER is an organization established on April 1, 1940, as the Institute of East Asian Economic Research of the Tokyo University of Commerce. After World War II, it was reorganized as the Institute of Economic Research attached to Hitotsubashi University in 1949, with the statutory objective of conducting comprehensive research on Japanese and world economies. Since then, the IER has generated numerous outstanding research results through the development of databases as well as advanced theoretical/empirical analysis and policy research linked to statistical data, earning a high recognition among research community in Japan and around the world. One of its achievements of particular note is the compilation of long-term statistics that could be described as the intellectual legacy of the field of economics as a whole. This includes the Long-Term Economic Statistics Series (LTES) of Japan, published in 14 volumes during the 1960s-1980s, and its successor, the Asian Historical Statistics Series (planned to make up 12 volumes in total), which has been published since 1998.

In fiscal 2010, the IER was recognized as a Center for Empirical Analysis on Japanese and Global Economy under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's Joint Usage and Research Center Program. As such a center, the IER has made available for use by domestic and international researchers a wide range of statistics through initiatives including provision of microeconomic data from government statistics, and through joint research project programs that are adopted through calls for applications open to all researchers regardless of their national affiliation. The majority of such projects are currently led by researchers based abroad. In fiscal 2018, the IER was also selected for the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) program "Constructing Data Infrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences." Besides these initiatives, individual IER faculty members have received numerous research grants, especially those of Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the JSPS. Utilizing opportunities that were made available through these joint research activities, the IER has become one of the international bases for collaborative research in applied economics.

From these collaborative research projects, individual IER faculty members have published numerous papers in internationally-recognized refereed journals. The research outcomes have been published in research books in English and in Japanese journals and books as well. Furthermore, the IER has three unique means of publication of its own: hardcover books in English known as the Economic Research Series, books in Japanese known as Keizai Kenkyu Sosho, and the quarterly journal in Japanese titled Keizai Kenkyu (The Economic Review), which publishes refereed articles submitted by both outsiders and the IER faculty members. These publications have established reputations for high quality among academics and policy makers. Currently, Hitotsubashi University is implementing its third Medium-Term Plan (2016-21), which calls for generating high levels of world-leading research results to contribute to the sustainable development of global society, and establishing a solid foundation for academic information and swiftly publishing research results both in Japan and worldwide. The IER is leading Hitotsubashi University regarding these objectives.

To further enhance the IER tradition, we plan to focus on the following activities in the near future. First, we will promote the accumulation, publication, and use of a broad range of statistical data by adding Big Data such as high-frequency data from asset markets and point-of-sale (POS) data to government statistics and historical data. Second, we will generate even more research results based on such data. One of the outlets is peer-reviewed journals in English written by IER faculty members. We will attempt to increase the absolute number of such articles. Other outlets include policy briefs and recommendations. Recently, there has been a global shift towards "evidence-based policy making" (EBPM). The shift toward EBPM is affecting the Government of Japan as well. As empirical analysis has been one of the IER's strengths traditionally, we would like to contribute to society in this regard in order to meet high expectations. Third, through diligent research cooperation and personnel exchange, we will strengthen networking with other research organizations in universities both in Japan and abroad, government and public-sector institutions such as the Bank of Japan, and private-sector research institutions. We would appreciate much your guidance and support regarding these activities of the IER.

April 1, 2021

The Director, the Institute of Economic Research
Takashi Kurosaki