Project Overview

Overview of the Research at PDRC

The panel data survey enables the analysis of changes in economic conditions and each individual’s behavior by observing economic agents such as identical households and films longitudinally. In the US, the panel data survey was initiated in the 1960s and have been continuing until now. In Germany, the panel data survey began in the late 1980s, and many other EU countries also began the panel data survey in the 1990s.

Since the implementation of the panel data survey is quite costly and time-consuming, many countries have hesitated to implement this type of survey at the outset. Nonetheless, as it has been recognized that the panel data can provide a particularly useful methodological framework, the collection of panel data has become increasingly common in many countries. Since then, it has generally been considered as internationally recognized statistical data for economic research.

In general, economic statistics data can be divided into three categories. The first category includes data that aggregate the behavior and characteristics of individual households and firms such as unemployment rates and average income. The cross-sectional data collected by prefectures and countries and the time-series data that show the changes over those time periods fall under the first category. The second category includes cross-sectional micro data that describe the behavior and characteristics of individual households and firms at a specific point in time. The data can be compared to a snapshot of multiple agents at a specific point in time. The third category, which is of our primary interest, is individual-level panel data. The data can be compared to sequential photographs of multiple agents at a fixed-point observation.

In Japan, sophisticated empirical analysis has been hindered by the limited public availability of the government micro data for researchers in the second category, and most empirical studies are based on the data in the first category. It has been difficult to conduct sophisticated empirical analysis that is accepted internationally.

The objective of the PDRC is to construct and collect a well-designed and large-scale panel data set and provide rigorous empirical studies based on these data sets. The data will enable us (i) to provide international comparisons and fact-findings on the household income changes, social mobility, changes in employment status and the investment activities; (ii) to verify the hypotheses related to the dynamics of economic behavior derived from economic theory; and (iii) to evaluate important policy changes in the tax system and social security program, which might have lagged effects. This evaluation should have a significant impact on the overall quality of empirical research undertaken in Japan. Specifically, the PDRC has been establishing a household panel data in Japan and a panel data about enterprises by using the existing financial statement of listed companies and newly entered enterprises. In addition, the result of research is actively provided to the public through the conference and symposium. Furthermore, our center has advanced a joint research with international institutes such as OECD and Luxembourg Income Study and has undertaken the role as a research site based on the sophisticated panel data.

An open and viable democratic society requires in-depth policy discussions based on reliable data and statistics that can be utilized by everyone. We believe that our panel data will be an important “public goods” for the people in Japan that can contribute to social-infrastructure improvements.

Examples of Research Projects

1. Joint Research Center for Panel Studies. 2015-2021.

Funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) This Research Center aims to design and establish internationally comparable panel data that observe identical individuals and households, firms’ behavior and changes in economic conditions longitudinally with participation of many researchers and research institutes within and outside Japan. In addition, we aim to conduct the empirical analysis using panel data as well as organize, manage and provide data. Furthermore, we aim to report the result of research through symposiums and seminars and spread the use of panel data.

Outline of Joint Usage/Research Center

The Ministry of Education amended the Ordinance for Enforcement of the School Education Act and newly set the certification system of joint usage and research center that certifies public and private university in July 2008. The implementation of this system promoted the establishment of joint usage and research center that cover extensive fields of study, and thus this system will strengthen the foundation of academic studies as well as develop new academic studies in Japan. 51 universities (28 for public and 23 for private) and 103 sites are certified as joint usage and research center in April 1, 2016.

2. Funds for the improvement of the Panel survey joint research center. 2016-2018.

Funded by MEXT

This project aims to establish and expand the global network (GN) and strengthen the hub function in order to strengthen the activity of “The Panel Data Research Center at Keio University.” Specifically, (i) the PDRC aims to expand the users of “Japanese household panel survey (JHPS/KHPS)” which was developed by the PDRC through the global network of the panel data research groups and strengthening the hub function. In addition, the PDRC aims to establish the global network and strengthen the hub function in 3 research fields: 1) employment and economic disparities; 2) education and intergenerational transmission of disparities; 3) aging population and economic disparities.

3. Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (S) “Investigation of the long-term causal effect of economic inequality on educational inequality based on longitudinal survey and experiments of parent-child pairs and international comparison.” 2016-2020.

Funded by Japan Society for Promotion of Science

Income inequality and inequality of opportunity has become a major concern among developed countries.The widening economic disparities and fixed intergenerational economic disparities have been considered as serious problems in many developed countries. In Japan, the eradication of child poverty and strong intergenerational correlation of economic status are the top priority issue to give hope to next generations. The international comparison studies involving different fields of research have been advanced, in topics such as an effective education policy to eliminate inequality of opportunities and an elimination of social and income disparities by investing in human capital. However, since Japan has lacked a longitudinal survey that follows the same children from preschool age though adulthood with measures of cognitive and noncognitive ability and labor market outcomes in adulthood as well as information of their parent, it was difficult to evaluate education policies longitudinally and participate in international comparison research based on such data.

In this project, we conduct a survey and economic experiment about children and parents in order to reveal a long-term causal relationship among child rearing environment, parenting behavior, education policies and an emergence of education disparities. In addition, we conduct an international comparison among the relationship between economic and education disparities as well as the effectiveness of the education policies.

4. Grant-in-Aid for Specially Promoted Research "Dynamism of economic disparities: Panel analysis of employment, education, health, and redistribution policy." 2012-2016.

Funded by MEXT

In the Japanese economy, most of the problems surrounding households and workers are caused by and affecting the economic disparities. While there are some problems that developed countries have in common such as poverty, non-regular employment, a long working hours for permanent employees, disparities of educational investment, and disparities of income transfers from parents to child, there are also some problems which are specific to Japan. Economic research has played various roles against those problems by identifying the economic disparities and grasping its scale and characteristics and revealing a mechanism of occurrence of disparities. In addition, the research has predicted the influence of redistribution policies on economic disparities for improving the institutional design. However, it is necessary to conduct dynamic research to reveal problems related to economic disparities in this society characterized by continuous or dramatic changes such as declining birthrate and aging population, globalization, rapid technological innovation, and economic crisis including financial crisis and noneconomic crisis including a great earthquake. Furthermore, as the importance of evidence-based policy has been increased, it has been more required to evaluate economic disparities objectively from a perspective of fairness and efficiency and to provide policy alternatives. This indicates the necessity of new approaches beyond the traditional research of economic disparities. Therefore, this project puts priority on conducting a dynamic research of economic disparities working with many different fields of applied microeconomics.

5. Health Labour Sciences Research Grant "The research related to the changes in working condition and active labor market policies.” 2014-2016.

Funded by The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare

In the Japanese labor market, the changes in the population dynamics and macroeconomic environment such as the declining birthrate and aging population, globalization and low growth have been progressed.It has been more required to recognize various structural changes including those in Japanese employment practices and conduct the evidence-based policies of the administration of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW). This research utilizes micro data of the ”Longitudinal Survey of Adults, Middle-aged and Elderly Persons, and Newborns in the 21st Century” of the MHLW in order to investigate the various changes in the Japanese labor market, measure the effects of influence on individual households and firms by the MHLW policies and make policy recommendations against the future policies of MHLW. Specific themes include the changes of working condition (leaving or changing a job, disemployment, employment), changes of working patterns (transferring from non-regular to permanent employment), and changes of living environment (marriage, childbirth and health condition). In order to focus on the “changes” in the labor market, we aim to provide pioneering knowledge and findings about the policies of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

6. Topic-Setting Program to Advance Cutting-Edge Humanities and Social Sciences Research "International Comparison on the Family System and Gender Equality"

Funded by Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS)

The purpose of this research is to verify how gender roles in companies and households have changed in a society with economic globalization, a changing industrial structure, a decreasing birthrate, and an aging population, and to verify how the roles of each gender has changed in family formation, between household members, and especially in income structure, childcare, home education, and nursing care. Then, recommendations are made on the state of employment, education, local policy, social service policy, tax and social security systems, and social and economic policy based on a new multilateral approach with endogenized attitude trends toward the role of policy evaluation and the role of policy from the standpoint of dynamics, using existing public statistics and panel data (micro-longitudinal studies) in various countries including Japan, new longitudinal studies built in this study, cross-sectional studies, and experimental data. These studies are expected to offer useful suggestions for policy-making not only in Japan but also in other Asian countries with a declining birthrate and aging population and in the United States and Europe. In addition, this report is significant in that it sheds light on the social and economic significance of gender equality through collaboration in research projects by the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (principal investigator: Yoshio Higuchi), which continues to analyze the impact that utilizing female human resources at companies has on improving productivity and competitiveness.