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Hitotsubashi University

Hitotsubashi University Library

Institute of Economic Research

Research Centre for Information and Statistics of Social Science


Global Economic History Network
Basic consept Project Outline

Our research unit integrates the following three research areas:
  • The first is a field of advanced empirical research in social sciences, such as demography and economics, based on both statistical data and sophisticated statistical methods. The field covers both macro and micro analysis. The former explores the relationships between aggregates while the latter examines the behavior patterns of people by using micro data.
  • The second is theoretical research on statistics and econometrics for empirical analysis of the data.
  • The third includes both the compilation and calculations of historical statistics (population and macroeconomic statistics) and studies in quantitative econometric history including historical national accounts.

Hitotsubashi University has earned a long standing reputation as "a university for social sciences" and thus has a strong tradition of empirical research. However, our research unit is rather unique in integrating the three: data archive, statistical theory and advanced empirical studies. In social sciences, especially in economics and demography, quantitative data is so crucial that the compilation of more reliable statistical data and deeper analysis of the data are the key to further advancement. This research unit aims to pursue this line of research.

The Research Centre for Information and Statistics of Social Sciences in the Institute of Economic Research at the university has an important role in the management of the data archive. Their library is no doubt unique because it has accumulated the statistical information of social sciences, which covers not only all time periods from past to present but also both macro and micro with the main focus on government statistics. Other than economic statistics, the centre has widely collected statistical information including demographic statistics, education statistics, police statistics, and public health statistics. Given this research base, the centre enjoys its excellence in the accumulation of long-term historical statistics of Japan and Asian countries. In addition, since the new section for micro data analysis of government statistics has been established in 2002, a firm foundation for the public use of micro statistics and the research centre to utilise the statistical information has been laid. Although detailed plans for the project is currently in preparation, the centre is becoming the first micro data centre in Japan for researchers once the plan goes well. Furthermore, the Research Centre for Information and Statistics of Social Sciences has started creating a micro data file from pre-war farm household surveys. This enhances a possibility in micro analysis of the past.

The contributions of empirical research in social sciences may be compared to those of experiment in natural sciences. In this sense, empirical research has to depend on long-term statistics on the one hand and a possibility of making full use of household level data. Given this concept, the research unit carries out promising empirical research on Japan and Asian countries. Our institute has good experience in compiling the long-term economic statistics of Japan, and a rich history of study and data collection that provides present-day researchers with good historical insights. The project expands this direction into Asia so that, given the results of the historical statistics analysis, it is possible to enhance our understanding of economic and social behaviors that cannot be explained solely by economic phenomena on short-term basis. For present-day economics, basic research on the relationship between the productivity of industry and economic growth, and business cycle is conducted. On the other hand, the establishment of a section of micro data analysis has generated more detailed analysis on firm activities and labour market phenomena. As for household behavior, behavior patterns in society with declining fertility are examined in relation to demographic factors.

The other contribution of this unit is to set up a statistics-related system to support the empirical research which uses such different statistics. Hence, the unit wants to further research on basic statistical theory to make multifaceted use of database possible, the development of statistical tools for database analysis, and research and supervision on the appropriate use of application methods according to each different data set. For example, theory of sampling and privacy protection in data collection, methods for panel data analysis, and those for time-series analysis will be given particular attention.

While fostering individual research in statistics and empirical research which will result in the form of discussion papers, journal articles and book chapters, the unit will try to achieve the followings:
  • Launching the publication of the “Long-Term Economic Statistics of Asia” series (12 volumes forthcoming)
    This is the continuation of a work of historical national accounts originally conducted by the 1995-99 project and thus follows the tradition and style of The Long-Term Economic Statistics of Japan since 1868 compiled by Kazushi Ohkawa and others, which has been recognised as a monumental work in the field of historical statistics.
  • Compiling a series of statistics re-compiled from government micro data
    This series plays an important role in research for users of government statistics. The re-compilation is made possible through a scheme for the exceptional use of the government micro data being conducted at the section for micro data analysis in the Research Centre for Information and Statistics of Social Sciences.
  • Creating other databases
    Databases such as the Long-term Economic Statistics of Japan (LTES) and international comparisons of income distributions over the Asian region (AIDA) are already available. In addition to them, the Japan Industry Productivity (JIP) database has been developed in cooperation with the Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, and a database of pre-war Japanese farm households is being created.
Being based on the data archive and human resources, it is possible to establish a unique research centre for empirical research in statistics by making use of the networks between Japanese and international researchers that will probably expand as the project progresses, even after the end of the project.
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