skip to contents.

Research Activities

Research Principles

Intellectual Contributions to the World

The Institute of Developing Economies (IDE) aims to make intellectual contributions to the world as a leading center of social-science research on developing regions.

I. Fundamental Principles

As a national think tank conducting basic, comprehensive research studies that contribute to the expansion of trade and the promotion of economic cooperation with the developing world, the Institute of Developing Economies (IDE) performs research that forms the basis for Japan’s trade policy and economic cooperation.

IDE conducts world-class research employing two research methods: area studies that involve trend analysis and structure analysis of developing countries and regions in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South America, with a focus on the local area, and development studies based on quantitative empirical analysis grounded in leading theories. This places the institute as a leader in research on developing countries. It also enables it to offer research results founded on historical and structural analysis as well as quantitative analysis, which has high added value as the basic material for policymakers and the industrial world.

The institute provides basic research analysis for understanding future economic trends and risks by intensifying research on emerging countries. In addition, we extend the research activities to developing regions and actively carry out pioneering research on countries with less research experience and studies.

Research studies are divided into three categories: (1) ‘policy proposal research’ that covers topics in a manner that is highly responsive to the needs of the policy authorities, (2) ‘analytical research that contributes to policy proposals’ that covers issues that anticipate the policy authorities’ latent medium-term policy needs and regional social needs, and (3) ‘basic, comprehensive research that forms the policy proposal research’. Moreover, the institute engages in international joint research with international organizations and research institutes in various countries.

In order to grow understanding of developing countries’ industry and people, and to maintain and improve the level of scholarship in the academic world, the institute globally disseminates the research findings, high-value-added knowledge, information, statistical data and outlooks to provide basic material to governments for policy proposals and policy decisions. The information is communicated through (1) preparation of policy briefs, briefing activities for policy personnel, and IDE forums, (2) strengthening of Web communications, (3) providing of symposia, lectures, seminars, and workshops in Japan and overseas as well as presentations of papers at meetings of experts and gatherings of academic societies, and (4) publications and peer-reviewed journals.

As a research library specialized in developing countries, the IDE Library continually collects, organizes and offers materials in multiple languages from academic materials to government publications, statistical documents, newspapers, and journals of various countries. The library also strives to expand its services for users.

IDE enhances to accumulate the researchers and their work, and also to expand its research network. Together with leading the discussion on strengthening economic cooperation in Asia and other regions, the institute functions as a platform for policy discussions among researchers in Japan and developing countries. Moreover, utilizing its abundant knowledge and research findings on developing countries, we conduct: (1) training programs for specialists in both theory and practical capabilities and (2) capacity development and network building with core administrative officials and researchers in the developing world.

The institute strengthens its research management function in order to implement strategic research projects based on needs and to quickly disseminate the cutting-edge research findings and information to those who will benefit in the various sectors. In addition, we actively perform to create the synergies by collaborating with Overseas Research Department and other relative departments at headquarter. Furthermore, the unification of publishing and sales business of IDE and the relative sections in headquarter will be also enhanced.
The ERIA Support Office supports the activities of ERIA (the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia) together with the Overseas Research Department, as well as JETRO Bangkok.

II. Action Principles

1. Research Projects
The institute carries out (1) policy proposal research, (2) analytical research that contributes to policy proposals, and (3) basic, comprehensive research that forms the basis for policy proposal research. By focusing not only on trade and investment, but diverse political and social subjects concerning developing countries, we seek to understand the overall picture in developing countries and regions.

(1) Policy proposal research
In collaboration with related ministries and agencies such as the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as well as with at departments of headquarters, the institute actively offers policy proposals and business opportunities regarding economic and social development to trading partners’ governments and industrial circles.

The research project, “Business and Human Rights in Emerging Markets – For Designing Japan’s CSR Strategies” analyzes how companies, especially Japanese putting emphasis on CSR for their competitiveness, should consider the way of incorporating human rights into business activities in the developing nations under poor legal systems.

“The Middle East in Political Transition and Japanese Security Policy in the Gulf Region”
“Trade in Value-added Analysis: an Extension to Developing Economies (II)”
“Study on Possible Pathways to FTAAP (Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific)”
“How to Escape Middle Income Trap: Strategies toward High Income Economies”
“Real Politics of Development Assistance”, etc.

(2) Analytical research that contributes to policy proposal
In order to develop the core business of the third medium-term plan “contributions aimed at strengthening Asian economic cooperation,” IDE works on research issues anticipating potential and medium-term policy needs and the social needs of policymakers. Specifically, the following three issues will be prioritized in the third medium-term plan:

Our priority research areas include those issues required for the economic growth of emerging nations, in particular those in areas related to demographics and innovation, such as the environment, energy savings, employment, social security, social development and aging, which are faced by countries attempting to transition from low income to mid- to high income level. Besides, the institute prioritizes comparative political and economic analysis, and international relations, as applied to the markets and industry of emerging nations. Specifically, research projects will be conducted such as “Impact of Myanmar's Reforms in the Post Military Regime”, “Venezuela under Chavez's Administration”, “The Politics of Redistribution in New Democracies”, “An Evidence-Based Study of the Innovative Anti-Poverty Practices and Market Institution”, “Product Related Environmental Regulations and Trade”, “Land and State in Africa”, and “Interdisciplinary Analysis of ‘Human Trafficking’ in Asia”.

As management analysis research, IDE engages in analyzing trends in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America are conducted. In particular, the political instability resulting from the democratization of the Middle East, the threats of terrorism, and the rise of the new economies, which have led to changes in security and the global order, have had a significant impact on the politics and international relations of developing countries. In order to engage with these impacts, IDE has opened a new Economic Research Group in the Middle East Region. Besides “Yearbook of Asian Affairs”, “Latin America Report”, and “Africa Report” (revived as web journal in 2013), another web journal “Middle Eastern Review” has newly published. It attempts to improve our provision of situational analysis and information in regard to these regions. Furthermore, the structure of the Geographic Simulation Model (GSM) has progressed to the point that we can now proactively engage in research into the benefits of economic integration in East Asia. Additionally, research projects which quickly responses to hot and emergent issues for domestic/ international communities will be occasionally conducted.

Besides all above, IDE also conducts in joint research with international organizations by utilizing mutual knowledge to meet the needs of government, industry and academia. Not only joint research with UNIDO for developing a regional Trade Compliance Report in Asia, we also promote joint research projects with Japanese/international universities and research institutions with the objective of refining and applying value-added trade analysis based on the International Input-Output Analysis which IDE has developed.

(3) Basic, comprehensive research that forms the basis for policy proposal research
With a grasp of the latest trends in academic research and the needs of industry, government, and academia based on an understanding of the current conditions surrounding developing countries and regions, the institute implements basic research studies focusing on the following two topics:

Economy and Industry
“Deeper Understanding of Development Mechanisms of Economies in Emerging Nations” The role of newly emerging and developing nations becomes increasingly significant. The deceleration of economy in the developed world has impacted that of the emerging nations, and the global economy is including the regional framework gradually transformed.

Under such circumstances, diverse research will be conducted to deepen our understanding in mechanisms of economic policies, changes at the in-site business activities, poverty reduction as well as influence of limiting factors in resources, environment as well as industrial manufacture against economic growth.

Politics and Society
“Investigation of Multiple Factors behind Political Stability and Social Development” In a globalizing world, political stability and social development are still considered as significant issues for developing nations. In order to focus on these issues, macro-political trends such as establishment of democracy and possibility of transformation of authoritarian regimes will be analyzed. Also the research regarding social movements and the structure of profound problems that society faces will be diversely conducted based on the situations of individual country with a cross-regional perspective.

2. Communication and Dissemination of Research Findings
IDE disseminates the findings in response to needs through publications, lectures, seminars, and its website to the public, policy authorities, the business world, and academia. The specific procedures are as follows:

1) In continuation from the previous year, for the purpose of reflecting findings and the institute’s resources in policy making and business planning, we will place emphasis on the preparation of policy briefs. By targeting the influential key persons in policy formation, such as core members of the government, major companies and the media, IDE forums will be held on themes related to trade policy and economic cooperation for interactive discussions.
2) Bearing in mind the timeliness of themes and content, we will upgrade our website to be more useful for policy making and business, with emphasis on analytical methods and data with high added value. To widely disseminate research findings, we plan to increase the accessible contents while improving website pages devoted to particular themes.
3) Moreover, we will actively provide other events like symposia and lectures in Japan and overseas, present papers at meetings of experts and academic society meetings as well as engage in publication activities and submit papers to external peer-reviewed journals. Through seminars and lectures, we respond to the needs of various sectors and regions in Japan and overseas, for example, the newly started public summer lecture in Osaka. By providing lectures, we will strengthen our collaboration with JETRO to use their extensive network so that we can adaptively arrange lectures in Japan and overseas. Concurrently, collaboration between the headquarters and domestic/overseas offices needs to be expended for interaction among researchers at IDE and staff members at headquarters.
4) Furthermore, we promote our research work through the supporter network by providing forums, and providing research publications and an up-to-date online database.

3. IDE Library
As a research library on developing country studies, the IDE Library collects, organizes and offers academic documents as well as materials in multiple languages, which includes government publications, statistical documents, newspapers, and journals of various countries. The library also builds its collection of materials and information of developing countries.

In order to enhance the convenience for non-visiting users, the library provides information, valuable data and access to useful materials and information through the website. At the same time, it aims to contribute to the further dissemination of research findings by expanding academic information databases such as Archive of IDE Publications (AIDE) and the Academic Research Repository at the Institute of the Developing Economies. (ARRIDE).

It also attempts to raise its recognition and utilization through the JETRO Business Library, inter-library cooperation, and effective PR activities like organizing library events in other libraries.

Regarding the market testing, the library continually works on smooth management of operations based on the specifications.

4. Research Partnerships and Networks
For strengthening the capabilities in information gathering and analysis, we dispatch researchers to research institutions and universities in developing countries, as well as research institutions for developing countries in Europe and the U.S. It is aimed to acquire an understanding of economic, social and political conditions in developing countries, and to associate with the latest economic theories. We also invite researchers with outstanding research achievements as visiting research fellows and experts.

Furthermore, in order to increase the visibility, IDE promotes research networking with domestic/international research organizations by utilizing the opportunity of international conferences, efficient collaborations of research projects, and advancement of research management skills.

5. Human Resources Development
As intellectual contribution of IDE, we operate the IDE Advanced School (IDEAS) with the aim of training Japanese development experts conversant with both theory and practical capabilities working for international organizations, capacity building of officials in administrative and public institutions from Asia and Africa.

6. ERIA Support Project
ERIA (the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia) is an international policy research/political advisory institute contributing to the economic integration of East Asia. With the cooperation of 16 countries attending the East Asia Summit, it was founded in June 2008 by Japanese initiative. IDE, in cooperation with ERIA Support Office, implements various projects with the objective of contributing to comprehensive growth of Asian economic region and Japan. To achieve the objective, we collaborate with ERIA, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Overseas Research Department, and Overseas Offices (in particular JETRO Bangkok) as well as the network of 16 research institutes, including IDE.

7. Securing Competitive Funds and its Utilization
IDE enhances to apply the external funding effectively. In order to enrich the research activities, usage of new funding sources by utilizing accumulated research and researchers are appreciated, such as consignment research projects with international organizations and governmental agencies as well as competitive funding for example Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI).

Research Policy

Below is IDE’s research policy, which is based on our goals, research mission and interpretations of the current global conditions.