2011 Research Projects

Seniors majoring in International Economics and Cultural Affairs engage in a year-long independent research project. During the Fall semester they  choose their topic and in the Spring their research culminates in a 30-40 page paper, under the supervision of 2 faculty readers in appropriate disciplines. This year, all papers fall under the general topic of "The Challenges and Opportunities of Human Mobility."


Immigration: Japan’s Only Real Solution


My research project will focus on Japan's declining population and its historical hesitancy to allow immigration. While Japan is often criticized as having an overly restrictive immigration policy, it's critical that the discussion move beyond accusations of xenophobia into a more holistic analysis of the difficult decisions Japan has to make in regards to its population.

On November 28th of this year the powerful Japan Forum on International Relations, a think-tank of business leaders, politicians, and academics announced they would both urge Japan to rethink its immigration policies via half page ads in the country’s largest newspaper and make appeals to Prime Minister Naoto Kan. In light of the urgency of the issue, I hope to analyze critically and holistically the factors behind Japan’s restricted immigration policy since WWII.  Furthermore, I look to understand more wholly what Japan is risking in not successfully dealing with its population’s rapid decline.

The Economics and Politics of Spanish Immigration

Illegal immigrants in Spain are in a unique position in the European country.  Not only are they affected by the volatile Spanish economy, they are also affected by the immigration policies enacted by a government deeply entrenched in economic hardship.  Because the Spanish economy grew during 1997-2007, mass migration occurred and immigration policies came to the forefront of liberal policy.  However, as the economy turned to a recession in 2007, and has continued to worsen to the present day, immigrants have been either pushed aside of vilified by government policy.  Potential problems arise when looking at Spanish labor markets and a declining population that will be unable to support the necessary level of consumption and production in Spain.  It will be necessary to alter certain government policies in the future as the economy continues to change and immigrants continue to flow in and out of Spain; therefore, the question arises, how should Spain change its immigration policy to best support its labor market, its economy and the citizens and immigrants involved?


The Bullying of Immigrant Students: The Unfortunate Consequence of a Multicultural Celtic Tiger


Traditionally, Ireland has been known as a country of emigration. One of the causes of emigration has been the country’s unstable economy. More recently, the Irish economy has resembled a rollercoaster ride. The Celtic Tiger, a term used to refer to the period of rapid economic growth in Ireland from 1995 to 2007, witnessed an influx of European immigration into the country searching for employment. However, as the global economic crisis took hold in the end of 2007, and unemployment and hardship greatly increased, human mobility in the country has come under question. Will Ireland once again become a nation from which the population flees?

In order to gain a better understanding of how the country has responded to both economic growth and hardship in terms of human mobility, I will be focusing my research on the larger cities in Ireland: Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Galway.