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.



As a national research institute conducting basic, comprehensive research that engages with both the expansion of trade and the promotion of economic cooperation with developing countries and regions in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, the Institute of Developing Economies (IDE) contributes to the global development through providing intellectual knowledge and expertise to Japan's international trade and economic cooperation policy. Additionally, by making the most of, one, its fine collection of researchers from a wide range of disciplines, including economics and political science, who are well versed in the local situations and local languages of developing regions, and, two, the extensive research networks within Japan and abroad, IDE efficiently provides a key knowledge of understanding the contexts and issues in developing countries to public policymaking and private sector strategy building.

In the view of "Guidelines concerning the Formulation of Goals by Independent Administrative Institutions" (the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications' September 2, 2014, announcement), IDE will come to grips with the following issues that the guidelines aim to maximize its research results: 1) the securing and training of human resources; 2) the appropriate allocation of resources; 3) cooperation and combination among research projects; 4) building and improving the environment for research and development in ways that are conducive to enabling researchers to give the fullest expression to their abilities; and 5) enhancing coordination and cooperation with other research institutions.

As a means of administering appropriate resource allocation, IDE will endeavor to increase the dissemination of its research findings and the expansion of its collaborative research which is indispensable for attaining the following set of numerical goals: 1) the number of briefing sessions offered to policy makers; 2) the number of papers downloaded; 3) scores given to research findings after evaluation by external experts; 4) the number of seminars, symposia, etc. sponsored by IDE; and 5) the number of international joint research projects. Simultaneously, IDE will clearly identify priority research themes, including Africa, the Geographic Simulation Model (GSM), and the Global Value Chain (GVC), as will be explained below. IDE will also endeavor to build a better research environment in order to secure highly competent research talent.

(1) Contribution to Industry, the Economy, and Society

As the process of globalization continues to unfold, emerging countries, are continuing to register rapid growth rates, which hold out the promise of an expansion of potential markets for Japanese companies, on the one hand, while, on the other hand, this process is accompanied by the advent of a set of difficult issues, such as widening inter-regional and intra-regional income differences, and the surfacing of resource and environmental constraints. The result is that the need for studies on emerging countries and developing regions is growing by leaps and bounds. In order to meet this need, IDE will carry out in-depth analysis of the politics, economies, and societies of these countries by employing area studies and development studies in order to anticipate the challenges and problems that these countries will confront in the future in their efforts to realize sustainable growth and overall industrial advancement. More specifically, IDE will grapple with the “middle income trap” and other problems in emerging countries that need to be overcome through innovation, while it will prioritize its research on Africa, which has been attaining phenomenal growth fueled by expansion in trade, investment, and consumption, and which is also being identified as an important strategic target for Japan's economic cooperation that is to be provided through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). Furthermore, by keeping in mind the sustainable development goals (SDGs) to be followed in 2015 and after, IDE will undertake research that address issues such as gender, development and the correction of disparities from standpoints that attach importance to inclusive growth and equality of opportunity.

(2) Production of Pioneering Research Results

IDE endeavors to produce research results that are beyond the reach of universities and private companies. Specifically, IDE will expand its geographical coverage and the practical application of the GSM, which it has built on the basis of spatial economics, so as to supply the results of GSM analysis at the request of international organizations and foreign governments.

In keeping with the worldwide surge of interest in GVCs, IDE will also establish a network of research bases for the study of GVCs, so as to take the lead in cutting-edge research activities, including a "trade in value-added analysis" which IDE has developed and improved over a long period of time. IDE will also strengthen collaboration among various research projects.

(3) Intellectual Contribution to the World through International Joint Research

IDE aims to make an intellectual contribution to the world by promoting joint research with international organizations such as WTO, OECD, UNIDO, ADB, and ERIA, and with universities and research institutions abroad, including those in emerging and developing regions, and by making use of competent research talent in Japan and abroad.


1. Research Projects
IDE carries out three different categories of research: Policy Recommendation Research; Analytical Research; and Basic-Comprehensive Research.

(1) Policy Recommendation Research
Policy recommendation research means projects based on requests from ministries in the Government of Japan such as Ministry of Trade, Economy and Industry. This type of research in some cases involves staff in JETRO HQ. In FY2015, seven projects (research programs) were completed as follows.
  • Failure of Nation-state Model in Middle East – A Possibility of the New Regional Order
  • Trade in value-added analysis: an extension to developing economies (III)
  • Economic, Industrial and Trade Development Vision for Lao PDR
  • Business and Human Rights in Emerging Markets—For Designing Japan's CSR Strategies
  • China's Pilot Free Trade Zone: Current Situation and Prospects
  • Aid Policy of China, Aid Policy of Japan
  • Contemporary Africa?
IDE-JETRO delivers insights from policy issue research to policy makers without delay through the institute's website, seminars, policy briefs, and face-to-face briefings to the policy makers.
(2) Analytical research
In carrying out Analytical Research, IDE enhances collaborative research with international organizations and universities and other research institutions within Japan and abroad. IDE also conducts permanent research projects that analyze political and economic trends in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, disseminating its findings through its periodical publications and website, while also being engaged in the development and utilization of the Global Simulation Model (GSM), and addresses such issues as “food safety regulations and trade.” Also, IDE flexibly performs research on an ad hoc basis by quickly responding to the surfacing of issues of great concern for the international community, such as emergency situations in developing regions or sudden, violent changes in the international situation.

In FY2015, IDE-JETRO collaborated with research institutes overseas and in Japan for three joint projects. The projects were:
  • Tracing China's Greenhouse Gas and Pollution Sources in Global Value Chains (GVCs): Regional and Firm Heterogeneity, conducted with the Institute of Contemporary China Studies (ICCS) of Tsinghua University, the Institute of Global Low-Carbon Economy (IGLCE) of Nagoya University, the Research Institute of Euro-Asia Economic Forum (RIEAEF) of Xi’an Jiaotong University, and the Center for BRICS Studies (CBS) of Fudan University,
  • Leveraging the Silicon Valley Connections: Taiwan’s New Innovation policies and implications for Japan, conducted with Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, and
  • Regional Vitalization, Internationalization and Innovation: Theory and Empirical Analysis for Invigorating the Hokuriku Economies, conducted with Fukui Prefectural University, Hokuriku AJEC, and Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry.
(3) Basic-Comprehensive Research
By keeping track of the latest trends in academic research, as well as the current needs of industry, government, and academia, IDE implements Basic-Comprehensive Research that can serve as the basis for policy recommendation.

2. Publication and Dissemination of Research Findings
IDE disseminates its findings through publications, lectures, seminars, and its website, so as to meet the needs of policy authorities, the business world, academics and the public at large.

(1) Contribution to Policy-making
In order to have its research findings and resources duly reflected in policy making and business planning, IDE will actively disseminate information to persons who exert great influence on policy making, such as those in the top echelon of the government, major companies and the media, and will also prepare policy briefs for dissemination among these groups.
(2) Website
IDE will upgrade its website so that it focuses attention on timely topics and content, and incorporates viewpoints, analytical methods, and high value-added data that are useful for policy makers and business planners. As part of our effort to widely disseminate IDE’s research findings, we plan to make the website’s contents more accessible to the public at large. Furthermore, in accordance with an information system optimization plan, we will commence work on building a common website platform with JETRO.
(3) Symposia and Seminars
IDE will actively sponsor and promote various events such as symposia and seminars both in Japan and abroad, present papers at academic meetings and symposia, publish papers in peer-reviewed journals, and publish research findings in book form. In a new project, IDE will sponsor seminars and lecture meetings in collaboration with universities within Japan. In organizing such seminars and lectures, including, in particular, the newly launched public summer lecture series in Osaka, we will see to it that these events will duly address the needs of various sectors and local regions in Japan and elsewhere. In planning lectures in Japan and abroad, we will do our best to strengthen the collaboration with JETRO and its domestic offices by asking, for instance, both IDE researchers and officers in charge of research at JETRO to serve as lecturers, while trying, at the same time, to organize these events in a flexible way by making use of JETRO's very extensive network.

3. IDE Library
As a research library on the study of developing countries, the IDE Library collects, maintains and offers academic documents as well as materials in multiple languages, including government publications, statistical documents, newspapers, and journals from various countries (both in printed and digital media). In order to enhance its convenience for non-visiting users, the library provides information, valuable data and access to useful materials and information via its website. It also aims to expand its academic information databases such as the Archive of IDE Publications (AIDE) and the Academic Research Repository at the Institute of the Developing Economies (ARRIDE). In addition to taking steps to promote its use, such as the sponsoring of special exhibitions of materials and documents, and the improvement of the system for libraries' mutual use, the library sponsors book-talks in university libraries where IDE researchers talk about their fresh publications. To make its management more efficient, the library has started to commission private subcontractors to execute some of the work listed as being able to be outsourced on a competitive basis beginning in the 2015 Fiscal Year, while it will proceed with the integration of its library information system with those of JETRO's business libraries.

4. Research Partnerships and Networks, and Human Resources Development
As part of its intellectual contribution and its activities to disseminate its research which are based on the vast amount of information and research on the developing world in its possession, IDE operates the IDE Advanced School (IDEAS) to train both Japanese development experts, equipping them with the theoretical understanding and practical capabilities necessary for them to be able to work for international organizations, and officials of administrative and public institutions in developing countries in Asia and Africa. In particular, IDE is endeavoring to enroll an increasing number of trainees from Africa for the training program that was launched as part of the New Strategy toward Africa.

In order to enhance its information gathering and analytical capabilities, IDE dispatches researchers to research institutions and universities in developing countries as well as to research institutions in the West that specialize in the study of developing countries. IDE also invites outstanding researchers from within Japan and abroad as visiting research fellows and experts.

By improving its joint research with international organizations and universities and research institutions in Japan and abroad, by encouraging its researchers to present their research findings at international academic meetings, and by holding IDE sessions in international gatherings, IDE endeavors to keep track of research needs, expand its research networks, and make itself better known to the world. IDE also strengthens collaboration among its research projects by taking steps to improve its research management and other managerial capabilities.

5. ERIA Support Project
Working in collaboration with organizations such as the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Institute of Developing Economies, the Overseas Research Department, and JETRO Bangkok, and by making use of a network covering a total of 16 research institutions, including IDE, the ERIA Support Office offers research support to the Economic Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), to help the East Asian economic sphere, including Japan, to continue to enjoy growth in the post-ASEAN-Economic-Community era. In addition to carrying out a joint research project with ERIA, the ERIA Support Office will engage in the dissemination of the research findings of the project in Japan and abroad.

6. Securing Competitive Funds and the Promotion of Their Effective Utilization
Capitalizing on its extensive accumulation of research experience, and its sizeable pool of researchers, IDE makes efforts to win competitive research funds by undertaking research projects that are commissioned by international organizations and governmental offices, and by receiving Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI), which are managed by the Japanese government. It will also take steps to use these research funds introduced from external sources more effectively.

Research Policy

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