Research Programs: Human Capital

Fundamental Research for the Construction of a Vibrant Economy and Society in Japan

Project Leader/Sub-Leader


NISHIMURA Kazuo (Faculty Fellow)



This project aims to reveal elements contributing to economic growth by viewing the economy as a complex system through an integrated theoretical study based on a behavioral economic analysis of different individuals and a dynamical analysis of an economy composed of different economic agents. Our microeconomic analysis is based on questionnaires, experiments, brain measurements, and their analyses. Our macroeconomic analysis uses the approaches in nonlinear dynamics and will proceed through discussions with researchers abroad. Both take interdisciplinary approaches.

If one construes Japan's economy and society as complex systems, one may notice hidden essential data behind phenomena. Changing such essential data should improve the dynamic movements generated by those systems and enable economic growth.

This project pays particular attention to the following three points in addressing the target problems. The first is an impact on growth and stabilization of the economy comprised of numerous economic agents. The second is the impact of human capital on economic growth. The third is the relation between different economic agents and decision making. With respect to the first point, some basic analysis will be made on the international linkage found in economic growth, and such international linkage through trade will be analyzed in cases where there are relations of interdependence through externality among many countries.

As regards the second point, attention will be paid to human capital to analyze the roles played by that factor in economic growth. In particular, the roles played by education will be analyzed, and a discussion will be made on the way to achieving a desirable educational system. Studies by Dr. Heckman at the University of Chicago, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2000, indicate an extremely large effect of investment in early childhood education. Education will be a key to innovation and growth.

For the third point, a neuroeconomic analysis, including measurement of individual brain activities, will be conducted to see how the cognitive state of an economic agent impacts learning and decision making.

April 1, 2011 - March 31, 2013

Major Research Results


RIETI Discussion Papers


RIETI Discussion Papers