PIDS Research Agenda 2015—2019

The year 2015 ushers in a new focus for the Institute’s research program. The new PIDS research agenda centers on resilience capacity building. By resilience, the Institute recognizes the following characteristics: (a) capacity to reduce the vulnerability of society or communities to expected adverse shocks, and mitigate the adverse effects if and when these occur; (b) capacity to rebuild after shocks and build back better; and (c) capacity to take advantage of expected positive shocks, such as trade agreements.

To pursue this research agenda, the Institute upholds the importance of studying development issues using a multidisciplinary lens. Engaging different professions—social workers, psychologists, sociologists, educators, economists, and many others—is necessary to better understand what makes up resilient systems and the interaction of their various components, and come up with more effective, precise policy recommendations.

Related to this is taking a systems perspective in coping with adversity or in taking advantage of growth opportunities for the country. Understanding one side of the system is useful, but it is more useful if such knowledge is combined with others that are looking at the other components of the system. The systems perspective makes research become more immediately useful to policymakers.

This new agenda likewise underscores that a good understanding of a system, its components, and how it works requires determining the trade-offs that policymakers need to consider in deciding between several policy options. Looking for the unintended consequence of proposed policies and programs is helpful in strengthening a policy recommendation and ensuring that it is consistent with the development objective it is supposed to attain.

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