There are still many impoverished people in the world, and poverty reduction remains a fundamental development challenge. In addition, some countries that have achieved a certain level of development are faced with the problem of disparities and delays in social development, and thus it is necessary to achieve not only quantitative economic growth but also quality growth with inclusiveness, sustainability and resilience.
This research cluster is systematizing the concept of quality growth as a theoretical pillar in international discussions, and analyzing the socioeconomic effects of infrastructure projects, one of Japan's major assistance projects for developing countries. In addition, we conduct research on the financial conditions that have a major impact on the domestic economy and the lives of people and provide empirical analyses of agricultural assistance that contribute to further growth and poverty reduction in African countries. To clarify that policies and initiatives in developing countries are effective for economic growth and poverty reduction, we are also conducting evidence-based analysis comparing intervention and non-intervention.
Research Project (Ongoing)
Study on the Promotion of Financial Inclusion: The Case of Cambodia
Financial inclusion is the situation where individuals and enterprises can access the full range of necessary financial services in a sustainable way in order to ensure continuity and certainty of their economic activities. Access to finance allows individuals to make asset formation, engage in consumption smoothing, and reduce risks of income loss from accidents or diseases. In the meantime, there remains a large number of unbanked people around the world.
An empirical study on the urban water supply project in Myanmar
Since 1990, 2.1 billion people around the world have had access to improved water and sanitation. However, due to population growth, improvement of living standards and economic development, the demand for water continues to increase and water shortages and water pollution remain problems in many developing countries. In recent years, as urbanization progresses especially in large cities such as capital cities of developing countries, the concentration of the population and the influx of illegal residents occur, resulting the inability to provide appropriate social services such as water supply and sanitation.
Vocational Education and Training in Secondary Education in the Philippines: Empirical Analyses on Schools, Graduates, Households and Labor Market
Since June in 2016, the Philippines have commenced "the K-to-12 Basic Education Program". JICA Ogata Research Institute and JICA Philippines Office are conducting studies on graduates from technical and vocational high schools. This project examines whether two additional years of schooling (grade 11 and 12) at technical vocational high schools increased employment rate and earnings (return to schooling) of graduates compared to those who did not proceed to these grades. The study also verifies what kind of impact the schools’ resources and the quality of education in the case of grades 11-12 students at model technical vocational high schools have on students and graduates. The research will analyze in particular the impact of school inputs such as strength of ties between schools and industry, characteristics of teachers and principals, among others. The study aims to provide policy implications and recommendations to Department of Education in the Philippines and schools by looking at how two additional years of schooling help graduates perform in labor market and what kind of resources (teachers, industrial linkage with private sector etc.) in schools help improve the quality of technical vocational high schools.
Empirical Study on the Promotion of Home Currency in Cambodia
Despite Cambodian government has never officially adopted dollarization, it has become one of the most dollarized economy around the world. Dollarization never abated its pace, and the ratio of foreign currency deposits to broad money (M2) account for around 83% at the end of 2012. For the Cambodian government or the central bank (the National Bank of Cambodia: NBC), such the unexpected dollarization poses many challenges to the management of monetary policies. Under heavy use of foreign exchanges, the central bank has limited control over the effective level of money supply. In addition, dollarization undermines the development of financial market including stock market, interbank market as well. Underdevelopment of interbank market and little demand for governmental bond quoted in Cambodian riel also impair the scope of macroeconomic policies of the Government and NBC. This research project will conduct local survey on financial institutions, enterprises and households in order to reveal the cause of the dollarization and elicit effective policy to promote home currency, as well as provide insights on the researches on dollarization of other Southeast Asian countries.
Past Research Projects
An Empirical Study on the Poverty and Employment of Persons with Disabilities in South Africa
Disability is no longer the agenda only from human rights perspective, but also from development perspective as explicitly reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals. Researchers and practitioners about disability have long been confronting the necessity of understanding the poverty of persons with disabilities through empirical evidence, particularly in developing countries. This study takes a case of South Africa and empirically examines about poverty and employment of persons with disabilities. Through quantitatively showing the problems about these issues, this study aims at further increasing the awareness toward disability issue and contributing to building a disability policy or strengthening the policy implementation.
Study on Remittances and Household Finances in the Philippines and Tajikistan
Since 2013, the inflows of overseas remittances into developing countries have reached more than 400 billion dollars. There is a growing interest on how overseas remittances impact migrants’ countries of origin. This study will conduct a survey on migrants and their households and analyze the effects of overseas remittances sent by migrants working overseas on their household finances and whether such remittances are being channeled into investments into their hometowns. The study will focus on households in the Philippines and Tajikistan. For the Philippines where the government supports financial education for overseas migrant households, the study aims to provide policy recommendations on how to attract more investment from overseas migrants, as well as on measures related to reintegration of returnees. For Tajikistan, where the country heavily depends on remittance receipts, the study focuses on examining households’ coping strategies and their decisions on labour supply and household finances, especially given the decrease in remittance receipts due to external situations (e.g. Russia’s economic downturn, changes in exchange rates), as well as the lack of employment opportunities within the country.
Empirical Study of Growth and Poverty Reduction in Indonesian Farms: the Role of Space, Infrastructure and Human Capital and the Impact of the Financial Crisis
This study aims to develop long-term panel data on agricultural households in 98 Indonesian villages in seven provinces to identify the roles played by space, infrastructure, human capital and agriculture, among others, in the dynamics of growth and poverty reduction. It will take a micro-econometric approach to derive policy proposals. Some of the findings have been published already in World Development Report 2009. Several papers on space, human capital, infrastructure and other areas are in preparation. This is a joint study with the International Food Policy Research Institute. The impact of the financial crisis is also being monitored in part of the region studied.
Exploring Areas of Potential Sources of Growth for African Economies
The purpose of this research is to identify Africa's potential for economic growth following the financial crisis, focusing not only on structural shifts in the global economy, but also on increases in trade and investment between Asian countries and the African region. The specific method is conducting a macroeconomic analysis of Zambia and Mauritius from the aspects of: (1) reduced transaction costs through improved infrastructure, (2) building technology and technology transfers through China's special economic zone, (3) changes in trade structure, and (4) processes of structural reform (improvement of productivity, shifting labor toward modernized industries, and exporting diversified products). These research findings will be used to assess areas of comparative advantage for African trade in the global marketplace for sustainable economic growth in Africa.
Empirical Study on the Weather Risk Coping Strategy for Households in Rural Kenya
The vast majority of agricultural risk factors are related to weather conditions. Over the years, farmers have taken a variety of measures to cope with these risks, including introducing irrigation systems, diversifying farm products, and establishing mutual aid organizations. However, agricultural output worldwide has been declining since 2007 due to the impact of repeated droughts. Given this situation, insurance as a means of hedging risk has drawn increasing attention. The purpose of this research is to study the feasibility of introducing weather index insurance in Kenya. Since the country has less farmland that can be irrigated, weather conditions are more likely to cause enormous losses to all famers who have built mutual aid relationships. Therefore, risk mitigation that relies on farmers' mutual aids is a less than ideal solution. This research will be used to understand the effectiveness of insurance in Kenya and what is needed in its rural villages, thereby contributing to the formulation of policy proposals for JICA's development assistance projects.
An Empirical Analysis of Expanding Rice Production in Sub-Sahara Africa
The Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) initiative, launched in May 2008 at the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), is designed to help find medium- and long-term solutions to the problem of food availability in Africa and to reduce poverty by doubling the production of rice, one of Africa's major crops. In order to obtain clear recommendations for technological advances in sub-Saharan African agriculture, this study analyzes empirically how the CARD initiative serves to increase rice productivity and reduce poverty . The study will cover Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda, Ghana and Senegal.
Ethnic Diversity and Economic Instability in Africa
A negative correlation in quantitative terms is said to exist between ethnic diversity and economic growth, but the basis for this statement and its accuracy are unclear. This study seeks to clarify the matter through an interdisciplinary combination of economics, political science, anthropology and other relevant fields. In this way a comprehensive examination of links between ethnic diversity and economic stability in Africa and other regions becomes possible. A particularly close look is given to Kenya, where in late 2007 a serious conflict occurred, based at least in part on an ethnic problem. Using the comprehensive interdisciplinary approach, this study aims to identify appropriate economic policies and governance for states that are characterized by ethnic diversity.
The Second East Asian Miracle? Political Economy of Asian Responses to the 1997/98 and 2008/09 Crises
East Asian countries recovered from the currency and financial crisis of 1997-98 more quickly than had been expected. However, since the end of the crisis these countries have been the subject of only a limited number of political-economic studies despite more such studies before the crisis. One reason for this is that the crisis prompted many observers to argue for the superiority of market mechanisms. This study explores how the crisis changed institutions complementary to the market-institutions which are thought to have helped the countries in the region achieve rapid economic growth before the crisis. It also looks at the extent to which these changes explain the rapid post-crisis economic recovery. In addition, it examines the impact on patterns of economic development in East Asia of progress toward democratization and regional integration that gained momentum after the crisis. This study is being conducted in close cooperation with economists and political scientists.
Empirical Study of the Impact of Infrastructure Building in Filipino Farms: the Role of Space, Infrastructure and Human Capital and the Impact of the Financial Crisis
With three objectives in mind, this study builds a nationwide panel database on agrarian reform communities in the Philippines (i.e. communities where agrarian reform takes place plus a control group). The first objective is to conduct an empirical micro-level analysis of the business model in the agrarian reform assistance project implemented by Japan under three aid schemes. The second objective is to study the impact of road, irrigation and other infrastructure building on expansion of the network inside and outside the region, on creation of agriculture produce markets and labor markets, on investment in children as human capital and on the selection of agricultural produce among other human behaviors. Included in this will be analysis of the roles played by farmers' organizations and traders. The third objective is to identify impediments to economic development in the rural Philippines, applying semi-macroeconomic analysis to panel data at the provincial level to propose specific poverty reduction solutions.
Empirical Study of the Impact of Infrastructure Building in Southern Africa: the Roles of Space, Infrastructure and Human Capital
This study analyzes corporate and household sector dynamics following corridor development in southern Africa. Its purpose is to identify the impact on development from the changes in infrastructure and related spatial aspects, and to provide policy proposals. Undertaken jointly with the World Bank and Nagoya University, the study focuses on Mozambique and Malawi. In the initial stage, it conducts analysis of the selection of corporate locations on the basis of a survey of enterprises along two Mozambique corridors. The joint report, to be prepared collaboratively by the three participating organizations, will contain a simulation of corporate and household behaviors in response to future spatial changes in southern Africa.
Empirical Study of Industrial Clusters in Africa, the Role of Space, Infrastructure, Human Resources and Social Capital
This study is part of a joint research project with the World Bank and the Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development (FASID). Using data obtained from a whole-cases survey and from a training program for management personnel at furniture plants in the Tanzanian city of Arusha, the study looks for factors that result in corporate growth. Analysis is conducted on the impact on corporate performance of the following specific factors: business location, accumulation density and diversity, size of the labor market, solidity of the labor market, ethnic network, and the management personnel training program. On completion of this project, another whole-cases survey will likely be undertaken on the effect of improvements to an international road link between Tanzania and Kenya which is being financed by "a loan from the Japanese government."
Empirical Study of the Impact of Infrastructure-Building on East African Farm Villages: the Role of Space, Infrastructure, Human Capital and an Experiment with Weather Insurance
This study, which is being conducted jointly with the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), will formulate policy proposals after empirically examining the impact of policies on the welfare of agricultural households in eastern Africa. The focus will be on infrastructure, agriculture and climate change. The examination will be based on long-term panel data from agricultural households in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. Analysis of the impact of information infrastructure -- namely mobile phones -- on agricultural marketing and labor migration is in the final stages.
Issues and Challenges for Economic Development in Myanmar
In the late 1990s there was an expectation that the government of Myanmar would adopt an open economic policy. In anticipation, JICA conducted a study titled “Myanmar Economic Structural Adjustment," targeting the period 2000 to 2003, which produced policy recommendations for the government in the areas of social and economic development. Myanmar officials were oriented toward introspective policies, however, due in part to a China-backed power change occurring inside the government. Consequently, none of the suggestions were effected and Myanmar increasingly become alienated from the rest of the world, especially the West. The country continues with a development approach that is dependent on natural gas, while internally, inequalities in income distribution grow. This study analyzes the present situation in Myanmar, where economic and social stagnation prevail in the face of great potential. It offers suggestions for improving the living standards of the Myanmarese people, for freeing the general public from anxiety about their lives, and for creating a situation in which the people's capabilities can be deployed for the development of their unique culture.
Effects of Irrigation on Poverty Reduction: The Case of Sri Lanka
The aim of this study is to demonstrate quantitatively the impact of irrigation infrastructure on poverty reduction and socio-economic welfare in the target areas of a yen loan project for irrigation construction in Sri Lanka. A strict micro-econometric approach is used, based on a unique set of panel data that was collected independently. This project has been running since the period of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) Institute. Jointly with the local survey partner, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), panel data collection was conducted a total of seven times from 2000 to 2007. This project, which capitalizes on a unique data set, comprehensively analyzes the direct and indirect effects of infrastructure building on poverty reduction and income levels.