The reconstruction of local communities, including how to deal with problems of depopulation, has always been a major political issue in Japan. In order to tackle this issue, the government embarked on a “regional revitalization” project. The “Grand Design of National Spatial Development towards 2050,” the core of Japan’s national planning efforts, and the cultural strategy “Plan for the Revival of an Energetic Japan through Culture and Art” make it necessary to “foster an attachment toward the local community and make the best of the lifestyle and culture of the community, which are supported by tradition and creativity.” Amid globalization in various areas and for regional revitalization and reconstruction, regional cultural activities can improve the creativity and energy of local communities and such regional cultural activities can become the source of regional revitalization.
I have studied folk cultural properties that have taken root in local communities almost every year since 2010, and previously discussed the situations of their conservation and extinction. During this process, I examined spontaneous development, in which folk cultural assets lead to regional identity and industrial and cultural resources unique to each region lead to citizen-driven development of local communities. This research is an extension of these surveys, and involves a nationwide sampling survey of high quality amateur and professional activities that have been subsidized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and arts/culture development funds, carried out in 2014. The 190 amateur activities and 216 professional activities were compared in relation to migration and financial situations of local governments. As a result, I revealed that local governments that face depopulation or financial difficulties promote cultural activities more avidly. In 23 prefectures, which account for two thirds of the prefectures with a population of approximately 3 million, local cultural activities were initiated by the prefectural government. However, the national government’s new subsidy through the “Communities, Sages & Jobs” policy, started from fiscal year 2016 to revitalize local communities, is expected to be ill-fitting for the actual conditions of the communities and not become a subsidy for cultural activities, because subsidies are small and include evaluation taxes that are unsuitable for cultural activities.
JEL Classification:H54, R51, R53, Z11
This paper considers the situation where human capital for education is accumulated by education investments of both local and a central governments and the time devoted to educate children by residents. Local governments are assumed to supply equipment and facilities and the central government is assumed to bear operating costs for education. These investments are financed by taxing labor income as a common tax base. This leads to the occurrence of vertical fiscal externality between the different levels of governments. In addition to this vertical fiscal externality, in accumulating human capital, there exist other positive externalities both within the region and across the regions. The externality within the region, so-called peer-effect, is human capital accumulation determined not only by the time spent by a resident for a child, but also the average time spent by other residents. Externality across regions is human capital accumulation in one region determined not only by the time spent by residents, including peer-effect, but also the time spent by the residents in other regions. Among these two externalities, we especially focused on the former peer-effect, and investigated how it affects the tax rates and educational investments. Based on previous literature on fiscal externalities, we compared the unitary equilibrium where the central government determines all policy measures and the decentralized equilibrium where the central government first determines policy measures and the local governments then follow.
The main results of this paper are as follows. First, the labor income tax rate and education investments by governments become higher as peer-effects become higher. Second, even in a decentralized economy, the unitary equilibrium can be duplicated when the central government is the leader.
JEL Classification:H23, H52, H71, I25, O40
This paper examines intra-provincial market integration in Guizhou Province, China. We measure spatial market integration by utilizing time series data of rice and soybean prices. Results indicate long run rice market integration exists in three regional markets in eight recent years. However, the rice-surplus market does not dominate rice distribution, and this market is integrated with other deficit markets with longer time lags. Long run soybean market integration exists only between transports hub and the nearest market. A remote market is separated from soybean distribution in other markets. From this result, we conclude that the intra-provincial market is inefficient for local farmers to distribute their products. In order to increase the local farmers’ incomes, more flexible incentive polices need to be adopted to improve farm gate market efficiency.
JEL Classification:Q13, D43, C22, N55
Energy prices are highly subsidized, especially in developing countries, and this is why domestic energy prices in developing countries are much lower than in developed countries. Low energy costs can be a negative incentive for energy conservation, so energy subsidy reforms in developing nations are extensively discussed by the international community from the viewpoints of climate change and energy security.
In 2010, IEA, OPEC, OECD and World Bank proposed the joint paper, “Analysis of the scope of energy subsidies and suggestions for the G-20 Initiative”. In that paper, impacts of energy price reform in developing countries on energy savings are discussed. Energy price reform highly impacts dependence on demand responsiveness to price change.
Although a large body of research on this topic already exists, the empirical results have a wide range in estimated parameter values. There is no consensus on energy demand responsiveness to price change, especially for developing countries. This is mainly caused by two methodological problems, “Asymmetry of demand responsiveness to price change” and “Non-linear underlying energy demand trends”. Hoshino ［9］ addressed these problems and estimated the more robust parameter of energy demand responsiveness to price changes in the ceramic industry in several countries, including China.
In this study, we investigated the impacts of price reform on energy demands in developing countries. First, we analyzed the impacts of energy price reform on energy demands in the ceramic industries of China, India, Thailand and Indonesia using the estimated parameter of Hoshino ［9］. Our results showed that an increase in the average price of energy is effective for energy saving. If the average price of energy rises to the same level as middle-growth countries, the energy demands of Indonesia, India and China decrease by 30 percent, 20 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Second, we found that an increase in coal prices induces fuel switching from coal to natural gas and helps mitigate environmental problems caused by the heavy use of coal in China.
JEL Classifications:C13, Q48, O53
In a population decreasing society, urban agriculture is important for urban reorganization and new entries are expected to play a role in the efficient utilization of urban farmland. Lease of sufficient farmland area affects the business development of new entries in urban areas where farmland is severely scarce. In addition, formal support systems such as public administrations and Farmland Banks are not sufficiently prepared for urban agriculture. Therefore, various informal support systems from existing urban farmers are independently supplied for new entries. The objective of this study is to assess the quality and quantity of leased farmlands and clarify the functions of formal and informal sources.
A questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews were conducted in Tokyo and Yokohama. Our analysis framework was as follows. First, assessment of quality and quantity of leased farmland was conducted. The inclination of farmland quality was calculated with a principal component analysis. Second, quality and quantity of farmland were regressed by factors including characteristics of new entries and variables of support from both formal and informal sources. Furthermore, a nonparametric test was simultaneously used to assure significant differences of the multiple regression analysis. Third, farmland-leasing process was qualitatively analyzed.
Results are as follows. First, new entries enlarge the farmland area at the cost of farmland quality. Second, the public sector positively affects the quality of leased farmland, and existing farmers help new entries enlarge their farmland area. On the other hand, the Farmland Bank System does not contribute to farmland quality. Third, the roles of each source are different in each phase of entry and development. Through our findings, we suggest that cooperation between formal and informal sectors is needed to support farmland lease of new entries, and not only the quantity but also quality of leased farmland should be considered.
JEL Classification:Q12, Q15