VoxEU Column Frontiers of economic research

Vox Consortium’s welcome to RIETI–Hi-Stat: English language commentary and analysis from a Japanese perspective

VoxEU welcomes the latest member of the Vox consortium – RIETI – that provides policy-relevant research and commentary on Japanese and global issues. Launched in April 2011, RIETI’s ‘columns&essays’ series hopes to become a major resource for economists, policymakers, and journalists with an interest in Japan, Asia, and the Japanese perspective on global issues.

VoxEU welcomes the latest member of the Vox consortium – the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, which is working with existing consortium member Hi-Stat Vox.

RIETI is an economic policy think-tank (associated with, but independent of, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) that undertakes original research as well as providing a bridge from academic research to policymaking. RIETI’s President and Chief Research Officer will be familiar to Vox readers – Masahisa Fujita (co-author of the seminal book on new economic geography with Paul Krugman and Tony Venables; see Fujita et al 1999)

RIETI is breaking the mould of government research institutes by expanding its catchment area for ideas, opening its programme to foreign scholars, and – most importantly for Vox – devoting resources to producing Vox-like research-based policy analysis and commentary by leading economists. As their website states: “RIETI endeavours to break the conventional administrative and policy framework and invigorate the policymaking capacity”.

RIETI has established a flexible environment for interdisciplinary research on economic policy issues and gathered a diverse group of fellows sitting in RIETI. It also draws on part-time fellows (typically academics) and Consulting Fellows who concurrently hold positions at other governmental or private research institutions.

The result is an impressive list of world-class research on economic and industrial issues that are critical to Japan and many other nations. Some of the columns will help outsiders understand policy concerns from the Japanese perspective (eg “The Global Economy in 2012 and Associated Challenges” by Nakajima Atsushi 2012) but most of them tackle issues that challenge policymakers in most developing nations and beyond.

The range of research is enormous, covering areas from environment policy to ageing populations as an economic opportunity for industry, in addition to the usual policy fare (crises, monetary and fiscal policy, exchange rates, trade, investment, agriculture, etc). Here are a few recent columns that caught my eye:

See the full list for yourself at: http://www.rieti.go.jp/en/columns/index.html; the site includes research papers and summaries in English, Japanese, and Chinese.

Team Vox welcomes RIETI to the Vox Consortium and wishes its contributors and editors the best as they develop the portal into a major hub for economic research and analysis.


Atsushi, Nakajima (2012), “The Global Economy in 2012 and Associated Challenges”, RIETI, January.

Ito, Takatoshi and Junko Shimizu (2012), “How should Japan’s current exchange rate be viewed?”, VoxEU.org, 20 March.

Fujita, Masahisa, Paul Krugman, and Anthony J Venables (1999), The Spatial Economy: Cities, Regions, and International Trade, The MIT Press.

Matsuda, Naoko (2012), “Community Formation in Social Network Service”, RIETI Column 225.

Nagaoka, Sadao (2012), “Seeking and Exploiting Knowledge Globally”, RIETI Column, January.

Shigenori, Hata (2012), “Japan's Policy Beyond 2013 Under Scrutiny as the World Moves Toward a New Global Warming Regime”, RIETI Column 232.

Yamaguchi, Kazuo (2012), “Gender Equality and Economic Growth”, RIETI Column 228.