Current Institutional Affiliation
Deputy Governor, Bank of Japan

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Professor, Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University
The Role of Economic Journalism in Economic Crises: A Comparative and Historical Study in Japan and the US

The primary purpose of this research project is to analyze the role of economic journalism in economic crises. The study is purported to be a comparative study on Japan and the U.S. in historical study. In principle, any policy must be approved of by the public in a democracy. Although the public needs adequate information and knowledge for judging any particular policy, it is often very difficult to do so precisely because information and knowledge are not shared in a symmetrical manner among the experts and the public. The role of the media is extremely important in providing adequate information and knowledge with the public: in this sense, the media is a social infrastructure for proper governance of democracy. Particularly important is the role of economic journalism since the economy affects every aspect of people's life from education, jobs, income, to social security. The problem becomes even more pressing in the times of economic crises. A crisis requires a prompt and proper policy action, but a crisis entails a crisis in existing knowledge as well, creating a room of maneuver for a wide variety of policy entrepreneurs to propose their own theories and remedies, hence confusions. Therefore, the role of economic journalism becomes all the more important. More specifically, the research deals with the following questions: -what messages economic journalism has conveyed during the current crisis -which characteristics are problematic, if any -how economic journalism has demanded and accepted which part of economic knowledge -what are the sources of the problematic features of economic journalism, if any -what is required to improve the situation. The proposed research is policy relevant, contemporary, and comparative in its nature. First, economic journalism is a public and social infrastructure of a democracy, and the research is policy relevant since it analyzes the role of economic journalism in economic crises and aims to improve the policy making process in a democracy. Second it is contemporary since it deals with contemporary economic journalism and economic crises. Third, it is comparative in that it compares economic journalism both in Japan and in the U.S. Methods used in my proposed research is mainly historical, but it will be informed by recent developments in the economics of the media. The study will compare economic journalism in Japan and the U.S., mainly in print media, and there will be two kinds of dataset. One is textual. Almost all major newspapers and economic magazines in Japan and the U.S. are available through online archives. The other is interviews. I intend to conduct interviews to both Japanese and American economic journalists and relevant scholars and policy makers. Although the method is mainly historical, I would like to try multiple methods. For example, I would like to conduct contents analysis on the textural database. Also, the current crisis is associated with a drastic change in the media industry. Therefore, the analysis of the media industry both in Japan and the U.S. should offer background against which economic journalism has changed.