Political Economy

Thomas Fujiwara's current research is in political economy, with a substantive focus on developing countries. 

Professor Fujiwara investigates how political and social institutions shape individual behavior, with a focus on incentives, information, and norms (mutual conventions, beliefs, and expectations). In particular, his work aims to understand how these factors influence representation, both in elections and in the workplace (e.g., under-representation of women and socially excluded groups). Whether elected officials properly represent the will of voters has important implications for policy outcomes. Similarly, representation of excluded groups in positions of power in the workplace can affect their labor market performance.

Economic theory often provides clear predictions to guide empirical work, and Professor Fujiwara's work seeks to draw out, and test, these predictions. His research makes use of both observational data and field experiments. The papers based on observational data usually involve quasi-experimental empirical strategies, clarifying their link to theoretical predictions, and applying them to data  from several contexts. The field experiments usually occur in the natural context of the participants’ existing activities. Finding  the right setting and partners (e.g., politicians and career placement directors) and creatively designing the treatments and data collection allows Professor Fujiwara to determine mechanisms and test theories. By spanning multiple methodologies, he aims to build a body of research evidence that balances external validity and the ability to test specific theoretical predictions, addressing the role of  alternative mechanisms and confounding factors.

Further information on the above research and related publications can be found on Professor Fujiwara's website.