Research Programs: Human Capital

Fundamental Research for Economic Growth and Productivity Improvement in Japan

Project Leader/Sub-Leader


NISHIMURA Kazuo (Faculty Fellow)



The number of Japanese patent applications continues to decline since its peak in 2005. In addition, per capita national income and the number of science and engineering papers published also declined sharply in the second half of the 2000s. From this trend, it is evident that there is insufficient investment in education in Japan to bolster the competitiveness and economic growth of the country.

The economic growth of Japan has always been supported by innovation produced by talented people with high human capital. However, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's White Paper of Science and Technology 2018 states that "Japan's international status seems to be on a declining trajectory in terms of research capabilities, evident in a decrease in the number of articles published and a decrease in the international share of the number of citations in the top 10% of articles, which is one of the indicators of the quality of articles. In March 2017, Nature magazine also pointed out that Japan's scientific research has stalled in recent years, evidenced by a decline in the international share of scientific articles."

The White Paper also stated "Needless to say, it is "a person" that supported the research findings linked to the Nobel Prize and also excellent research results in a wide range of fields in Japan. Human resources capable of generating new information and value and accelerating innovation are the cornerstones of fundamental power," and emphasized the importance of accumulating human capital. Based on these trends, investment in education in Japan is considered not to be sufficiently boosting the competitiveness and economic growth of the country.

In this research, we analyze the role of human capital in economic growth from both empirical and theoretical perspectives. 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 that education and child-rearing play in the accumulation of human capital.

July 22, 2019 - June 30, 2021

Major Research Results


RIETI Discussion Papers