Policy management in Japan has been facing an increasing difficulty with a continuous decline in fertility, aging population, and rapid changes in the industrial structure, coupled with limited fiscal space. Therefore, there is a growing need to have a firm grasp on ongoing policy issues and to formulate effective and credible policies within the limits of available resources. It is also required to precisely evaluate policy outcomes and implement appropriate revisions as warranted. Hence, it is increasingly important to promote EBPM (evidence-based policy making) by fully using various data.
In response, Hitotsubashi University has established a comprehensive research scheme to contribute to EBPM. The Research Center for Evidence-based Policy Making under the Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study (HIAS EBPM) serves as the core of this scheme. The Center has three distinguishing features:
First, under the Center’ leadership, a framework for promoting EBPM research across departments and faculties has been established. EBPM research is undertaken with a wide variety of reliable data – from long-term economic statistics to massive large-scale micro data – and staff members well-versed in advanced empirical and theoretical analysis joining from different departments and faculties. Furthermore, the Center closely collaborates with other institutions within the University, including (1) the Graduate School of Economics and other graduate programs; (2) the Institute of Economic Research (which has been appointed as a Joint Usage and Research Center Program by the government); and (3) two research centers in HIAS (Research Center for Global Economic Systems and Research Center for Health Policy and Economics).
Second, the Center emphasizes human resources development for EBPM. The Graduate School of Economics features an “EBPM Program” in its Ph.D. course to foster human resources for the advancement of EBPM. This program is designed mainly for employees in the public sector to help them acquire advanced economic analytic skills while working. Collaborating with this program, the Center aims to meet the strong societal need for EBPM human resources development and create a positive feedback loop between research and education.
Third, the Center cooperates closely with policymakers on EBPM, and it has developed a system for policy design and evaluation. Many of the staff members in the Center are former officials of the government ministries or the Bank of Japan. Also, the government ministries, the central bank, and other public/private agencies often participate in the Center’s research projects. In addition to advancing academic activities, the Center strives to contribute to the promotion of EBPM in Japan through a firm real-time grasp on ongoing policy issues.