Based on development economics, environmental and resource economics, and economic analysis of legal systems, I have studied how institutional factors and interactions among actors have affected the process of creating environmental policies in Taiwan, Japan, and India. Specifically, I have studied interactions between the transition from authoritarian regime to democracy and the process of environmental policy formation; the role that Japan’s industrial policy played in the development of environmental policies centering on industrial pollution control during the period of rapid economic growth; and the context in which environmental laws were created in Taiwan under its authoritarian regime in the mid-1970s. I have also studied the roles that environmental NGOs and other private sector entities played in policymaking in Taiwan. Overall, I have regarded resource and environmental policies during the period of economic development as “lagging public policies” and have examined the influence of other public policies and government agencies implementing them on the formation process.
Current research projects
As an extension of my research on the process of creating environmental laws under authoritarian regimes, I aim to clarify that control of water pollution, air pollution, and waste was incorporated into the area of “environmental health”—a component of public health policy—at the end of the 1950s and was promoted as part of social control and mobilization through authoritarian order as well as political movements initiated by the government in Taiwan. After the enactment of the environmental law by the central government in the mid-1970s, environmental control was treated as part of the environmental protection policy at the end of the 1970s, before being separated from the realm of public health and then transformed into a public policy that would provide a better environment as a public service. As for Japan, I am studying the two water quality laws of 1958, which were the first environmental laws in the country, and the pollution emitted by the Edogawa plant of the Honshu Paper Company in the same year, which led to the enactment of the two laws, as well as the relationship between these laws and Minamata disease, which was officially discovered in the same period.