Policy Research Domains (Major Policy Research Domains) II. Promoting Innovation and Strengthening International Competitiveness

Study on Intangible Assets in Japan

Project Leader/Sub-Leader


MIYAGAWA Tsutomu Faculty Fellow



2009 - 2010

In this research project, we aim to further deepen our study of intangible assets in Japan at the macroeconomic, industry, and firm levels, building on the findings made in fiscal 2008 (April 2008 - March 2009) and fiscal 2009. At the macroeconomic level, we will extend the time-series estimates to date of Japan's overall investment in intangible assets by using data from the JIP Database. We will also develop time-series estimates by industry. At the firm level, we will conduct more detailed analysis, utilizing data obtained through our interview survey conducted over the past two years as well as micro-data collected in the Basic Survey on Japanese Business Structure and Activities and the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Workplace Survey, both conducted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Specifically, we will examine: (1) human resource management and its effects on firms' performance; (2) determinants of firms' decisions concerning intangible assets; (3) determinants and effects of organizational reform; (4) effects of intangible assets on firms' decisions concerning capital formation and research and development (R&D) investments; and (5) effects of financial resource availability on intangible assets. We would also like to expand the scope of our survey on intangible assets to include firms outside Japan and re-examine the relationship between intangible assets and firms' performance, in collaboration with researchers from the United States, Europe, and other Asian countries.


In line with the recent researches on the relationship between investment in "workers and organizations" and corporate performance by using microdata, this project examines how the performance of Japanese firms has been affected by their internal organizational reforms, personnel management and human resources development. Following Bloom and Van Reenen (2007), the research will be based on interviews with firm managers. Using the interview survey, the purpose of the research focuses on the effect of organizational and human resource management on firm performance. During fiscal 2007, considerable time was spent on designing and implementing these interviews and analyzing the results obtained from 151 firms with head offices in the Tokyo area. Nationwide interviews (573 firms) and questionnaire surveys of personnel departments (391 firms) were completed by September 2007. During fiscal 2008, a more detailed analysis of the impact of organizational structure and human resource development on corporate performance will be conducted by combining the results obtained from the above surveys with microdata from government statistics. Since the interviews have also provided new data on internal human capital formation at the macro and industry levels, and new estimation results have also become available from other countries, we will revisit the results of Fukao et al. (2007, 2008) which estimated intangible investment at aggregate level.

April 2, 2007 - March 31, 2011

Major Research Results


RIETI Discussion Papers


RIETI Discussion Papers

International Conference


RIETI Discussion Papers