Using tools of natural sciences to tackle problems in social sciences
Dr. IGARASHI Yoske Associate Professor in Economics

Economists look at society, people, and the various phenomena that occur therein

Why do you think people study economics? When asked such questions, not many people can give immediate answers. The field of economics involves many topics including history, statistics, environment, finance, policy, etc., and literally anything in our human society could be its subjects of study. Consequently, different people can have very different reasons why they want to study economics.

As far as I am concerned, I liked mathematics in high school, but I was not very much into physics and biology experiments, which I found to be distant from our human society. In contrast, economics always finds its objects in human society while using mathematical modelling and computer simulation. I thought economics was perfect for me. “Applying the tools of natural sciences to predict and improve the future economy”: this is the reason why I like economics. If you are joining the econ department in Hokkaido University, you should and will find your own reason to study economics.

Connecting individual subjects and developing the ability to think analytically

Our faculty of economics and business offers many courses, each of which provides training opportunities such as tests and writing assignments. Completing them is essential as a matter of course, but what I think is of greater importance is to develop the ability to combine knowledge from many different courses and analyze new issues holistically.

The 2007-2009 financial crisis was a big event academically as well as socially. Economists compared the crisis with past incidents in history, analyzed data statistically, constructed microeconomic and macroeconomic models to explain the event, and simulated effects of potential policies. This is just an example, but by understanding the links between the subjects and the roles they play, you will find economics more and more interesting. Furthermore, the skills and knowledge you acquire in the process will turn out very useful even after college.

Profile of Dr. Igarashi

Prof. Yoske Igarashi obtained his BA and MA from University of Tokyo, and a PhD in Economics from Penn State University.
Before joining Hokkaido University, he was a lecturer at the University of Exeter Business School.