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Mission & Strategy

The Center for Economic Institutions (CEI) is currently working on three main research topics. First, the new pillar of CEI’s research beginning in fiscal year 2016 was decided in 2015: Comparative Institutional Analysis of Economic Systems I Emerging Countries. At the same time, CEI’s existing research topics will be continued, and research on financial and corporate systems in Japan and Asia will also be promoted. By combining our past research results with new ones, we are aiming to conduct systematic, basic research on economic institutions and long-term economic development.

Comparative Institutional Analysis of Emerging Country Economic Systems

The development process in emerging countries suggests the return of an era in which population size will have a major impact on size of their economies. This is based on the perception that it is necessary to grasp more accurately the market structure in the economies being studied and the systems and organizations that support it in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of emerging countries such as Russia, China and India, where development in the form of a direct link between the sizes of the population and the economy has been the focus of attention in recent years. Such understanding is also needed for countries in South Asia and Africa. Although the collective term emerging countries is used, they actually have diverse levels of economic development and institutional design, and some regions still have comparatively low income levels. Studies and research based on the actual circumstances in these countries are essential for a broader understanding of systems and organizations. Moreover, the steady implementation of appropriately designed development policies will be crucial for breaking out of the status quo in emerging countries with low income levels. However, the possibilities for obtaining information in notable emerging countries such as Russia and China that once had socialist economies may be limited, both institutionally and legally. For the analysis of such countries, the information in their official statistics is significantly lacking, and the use of independent data is a prerequisite. In addition, there are problems surrounding the capabilities of local institutions in the collection of official statistics to acquire information in areas such as India, Southeast Asia, and Africa, which are attracting attention as emerging countries. 
Therefore, the approach adopted under this project will be as follows:
(1) Create new data based on independent household income and expenditure surveys and other surveys in parallel with promoting the development of historical materials.
(2) Conduct analysis considering the historical background to development by using these data to examine the reasons and exogenous conditions involved in the adoption of economic and social institutions in each emerging country. 
(3) Perform this sort of empirical analysis for multiple points in time and multiple countries under an integrated framework to identify the distinctive features for emerging countries as well as common factors based on the comparisons between them.
Analysis of the historical process of economic development in the United States and Japan, emerging countries of the past, will naturally be included as important points of comparison that can provide suggestions for the contemporary analysis of today’s emerging countries. Such a perspective is indispensable in our approach to comparative institutional analysis and comparative economic development studies.

Role of Institutions in Economic Development in Low-income Developing Countries in Asia and Africa

Reducing poverty in developing countries has become a global issue in the twenty-first century. To design and implement development policies to realize this goal, we need to understand precisely how markets work in these countries through the support of various institutions and organizations. However, to analyze these institutions and organizations empirically, we need detailed information that is not available from existing datasets. This lack of data is one reason why research on low-income developing countries is currently insufficient. Therefore, we are implementing a three-tier research strategy: (1) data collection, (2) empirical analysis using these data, and (3) international comparisons.

Financial and Corporate Systems in Japan and Asia

Understanding the role of institutions in financial and corporate systems in countries already or nearly developed gives important insights to low-income developing countries regarding the long-term development perspective. For this reason, we continue to conduct research on financial systems, corporate governance, and firm/industry performance in East Asia. More concretely, we are aiming at completing the Japanese Large Shareholder/Board Members Database, conducting empirical research on family enterprises, compiling and analyzing detailed historical data on economic institutions and production organizations in Japan, and conducting empirical and comparative analysis of long-term economic development using the Asia Long-Term Historical Statistical Database.

Routine Research Activities

To facilitate our research, CEI holds regular research seminars to which domestic and international scholars are invited to present their recent research. We also hold international conferences occasionally, which are co-organized with domestic and international research institutions. We have a visiting program that we invite international scholars to stay at our center for at least three months. Those interested in the program are invited to contact us. Please click here for details.