Research Programs: Human Capital

Fundamental Research for Economic Growth and Productivity Improvement in Japan

Project Leader/Sub-Leader


NISHIMURA Kazuo (Faculty Fellow)



The economic growth of Japan has been supported by talented people with high human capital generating innovation. However, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's White Paper of Science and Technology 2013 states that "the number of articles which are quantitative indicators of innovation has been is greatly lowered the world ranking" and pointed out that research and development capabilities have declined in Japan in recent years.

The number of Japanese patent applications has declined by more than 10% in 2014 from its peak in 2005. In addition, per capita national income and the number of engineering papers published also declined sharply in the second half of the 2000s. From this trend, it is viewed that, in Japan, educational investment does not sufficiently push up the competitiveness and economic growth of the country.

In this research, we analyze the role of human capital in economic growth from an empirical as well as theoretical viewpoint. Specifically, we look at the economic system as a complex system, analyze the roles that human capital plays in economic growth and business cycles, and analyze how education and child rearing factor in accumulating human capital. Furthermore, our research topics include neuroeconomics. We will perform personal brain activity measurements and study how the perception of economic agents affects learning and decision making.

June 19, 2017 - May 31, 2019

Major Research Results


RIETI Discussion Papers