Constructing Open Political-Economic Systems
Theory Team: Searching for the Evolutionary Mechanisms of Institutions
Masaru Kohno
 Masaru Kohno
* Ph.D. (Political Science), Stanford University
* Masaru Kohno, ed., From Institute to Governance: A Social Science Interchange, University of Tokyo Press, 2006

Human society today is both given meaning and regulated by a variety of different institutions. Our everyday economic activities would lose their viability without recourse to the legal enforcement of ownership and property rights. Moreover, regardless of how little interest people may take in politics, it is impossible to go through life in modern society untouched by the effects of political institutions.

The Theory Team faces the task of identifying the mechanisms that generate political-economic institutions in the modern world. How are these institutions established? How are they maintained? How do they change? To provide answers to questions such as these, we are developing a new approach - called the GLOPE Method - that is intended to unite such diverse methods as deductive modeling, case studies, surveys, experimental games, and simulation techniques into an organic whole that builds upon the existing body of research into institutions. This approach represents an attempt to provide a logical framework for the construction of open political-economic systems at a time of expanding globalization.

Project 1: Political-Economic Experiments

This project will attempt to verify through the methods of experimental economics the ways in which fixed sets of rules give rise to different types of political-economic activities, and to identify through the use of game theory and other methods the particular activities that result in stable practices and institutions. In other words, the aim is to determine though experimentation whether an empirical basis can be provided for the deductive conclusions drawn from the modeling process, thereby effecting an organic synthesis of deductive and empirical research.

[Activities/Accomplishments] Political-economic experiments related to institutional choice (including field experiments); international workshops; methodology seminars on political economy.
Project 2: Attitude Surveys and Open Societies

Nationwide surveys of ordinary Japanese voters will be conducted at regular intervals in an attempt to determine the attitudes of Japanese toward the problems they expect to face in the future, and to identify the choices they plan to make, especially concerning such issues as globalization, aging, the declining birthrate, and stagnant economic growth. The surveys will include questions designed to clarify the reasoning processes and strategies that voters use, and an attempt will be made to coordinate the results with the work carried out in Project 1. Furthermore, the Computer Assisted Personal Interview will be explored as a new method of conducting surveys.

[Activities/Accomplishments] Large-scale public-opinion surveys conducted before and after the 2003 election for the Japanese House of Representatives, before and after the 2004 election for the Japanese House of Councillors, and after the November 2005 election for the Japanese House of Councillors, together with detailed statistical analysis of the results; in 2007, a nationwide public-opinion survey will be carried out in conjunction with a related political-economic experiment.
Project 3: Applied Political-Economic Experiments

The aim of this project is to create archived databases of census results, election returns, and public-opinion surveys as a means of facilitating the multidimensional analysis of political and economic issues faced by local governments in Japan and other countries around the world. Results obtained from the experiments and surveys mentioned above will also be archived and made available for the use of researchers at Waseda and elsewhere.

[Activities/Accomplishments] AArchiving of the survey data collected in Project 2; creation of a database of the leading causes of death for postwar Japanese.
Masaru Kohno Aiji Tanaka Yukihiko Funaki Shinichi Hirota Fumihiko Hiruma Manabu Toda
Copyright Waseda University, 21coe-glope