Our Global COE (GCOE) project, selected as one of the projects of the GCOE Program, aims to provide us with better and deeper understandings of human behavior and socioeconomic dynamics as well as plausible solutions for contemporary social and economic problems that we face. To achieve this end, we employ new research methods, such as questionnaire surveys and economic experiments, and integrate other related disciplines, such as brain science, psychology and sociology, with more conventional branches of economics. While traditional economics has certainly been successful in yielding key insights on various problems surrounding our society based on human rationality, it has become increasingly clear that there are aspects of human behavior that cannot be fully captured by the conventional approaches. Among those issues that still remain largely unresolved are persistent recessions, the occurrence and burst of bubble economies, multi-debtor problems, environmental issues, and the roles of emotions and feelings in economic problems, just to name a few.
Behavioral economics - a new and emerging branch of economics - is an attempt to shed light on and incorporate our behavioral nature, in order to complement these missing aspects of traditional economics which rests on human rationality. In our preceding 21st Century COE project, we have conducted various questionnaire surveys and economic experiments, often in collaboration with researchers overseas from Yale, Michigan, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Fudan, with a higher aim of becoming a research center for behavioral economics in Japan. All of our endeavors have resulted in many cutting-edge research papers, policy proposals, the inauguration of the Association of Behavioral Economics and Finance, and many young promising economists specializing in behavioral economics. The program also received the highest rating at the interim assessment of the 21th Century COE Program
The GCOE builds on and develops the 21st Century COE in several directions. First, we will inquire further into the fundamental nature of human behavior. Second, we will apply insights gained from those basic researches to actual social and economic problems and seek for potential remedies for them. Third, we will conduct international comparative research, mostly based on experiments and surveys, and promote active collaboration with researchers overseas. Forth, we will also promote interdisciplinary research such as neuroeconomics by working closely with bioscientists and medical scientists as well as by using fMRI data and twins data. Finally, we will place even more emphasis on the training of young economists. At the graduate level, upon successful completion of the core courses, we offer a systematic curriculum to equip students with analytical and writing skills necessary to conduct world-standard research, reflecting our strong belief that only with the sound basis of analytical skills can one proceed to analyze problems of more applied nature in our constantly changing society.