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Year in Review 2017: Research


In January 2018, the 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, published by the University of Pennsylvania, ranked ADBI the second-best government-affiliated think tank and the best regional-studies center in the world.

ADBI continued to establish formal and informal relationships with renowned think tanks and universities and scaled up cooperation with like-minded institutions, national government agencies, and international organizations such as the International Labour Organization, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Research activities in 2017 focused on studies that address emerging development issues that crosscut the areas of inclusive and sustainable growth, regional cooperation and integration, and governance for policies and institutions. The outputs of major studies will be developed into future capacity-building and training activities. In 2017, 63 major events were conducted.


Visiting researcher program 1 expert
Conferences, symposiums, and workshops 32 events
888 participants
Distinguished speaker seminars and small seminars 22 events
299 participants
Policy dialogues and seminars 6 events
162 participants
Publications 8 books
170 working papers
46 blog articles

Research EventsResearch Event ParticipantsResearch Publications

Highlights of Major Research Activities

The symposium Making Trade Inclusive: SMEs and Trade Adjustment in January 2017 focused on the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in international trade and how trade benefits can be inclusive. Robert Koopman, chief economist of the WTO, presented the 2016 World Trade Report, Levelling the Trading Field for SMEs.

ADBI/ADB Conference: 20 Years after the Asian Financial Crisis: Lessons, Challenges and the Way Forward. This symposium was organized with ADB in April in Tokyo. High-level officials and experts from ministries of finance and the academic community, including two central bank governors, attended the symposium. The conference examined what lessons from the financial crisis are relevant, what new challenges face the region, and how policy makers should address these challenges to maintain the region’s financial stability and dynamic growth momentum.

The Asian Bond Monitor is produced by ADB and comprises both an online database and a quarterly publication that provides investors with information about the condition of local-currency bond markets in ADB. At the Asian Bond Monitor Workshop in June, expert researchers gave presentations on developments in Asian bond markets and discussed the major challenges for economies with less-developed bond markets and the prospects for Asian bond markets and their regional integration. The latest Asian Bond Monitor was also presented.

In Almaty, Kazakhstan, 100 well-known scholars and experts on financial inclusion, regulation, and financial literacy and education attended the technical conference on Financial Inclusion, Regulation, Literacy, and Education in Central Asia and the South Caucasus to assess financial inclusion and literacy in seven countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) in the Central Asia and South Caucasus regions.

ADBI hosted the Second Annual Conference of the Japan Economy Network in September. The conference theme was Japan and the Asian Economy. Participants presented the latest economic research on the interdependence between Japan and other economies in Asia relating to monetary and fiscal policy, exchange rate policy, development of the Japanese banking system, perspectives on potential output, womenomics, inequality, labor markets, and education.

The ADBI–UNESCAP workshop SME Financing and the Role of Development Banks in Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America was held in Bangkok in September to discuss the current situation, challenges, and emerging trends in SME financing in Asia and the Pacific and Latin America, and disseminate information on best practices in enhancing SME finance in a manner that is sustainable and consistent with financial stability. Participants also analyzed supply-side policies that can promote SME access to finance and generally foster SME productivity and growth.

In collaboration with the International Economics and Finance Institute (IEFI) and the Institute for International Monetary Affairs (IIMA), ADBI hosted the ADBI–IIMA–IEFI workshop on Economic and Financial Cooperation in East Asia in Japan in November to further cooperation across different countries and promote financial and economic integration in East Asia.

Well-known scholars and experts on aging-related issues met at the ADBI and Asian Growth Research Institute conference on Public and Private Investment in Human Capital and Intergenerational Transfers in Asia in Kitakyushu City in November to analyze major challenges for Asian economies arising from issues related to public and private investment in human capital and intergenerational transfers in Asia, and to identify policies to address such challenges.

To better understand how sectors, firms, and workers in Asia have adjusted to trade opening and transformed the region into an engine of economic growth and inclusive development, ADBI partnered with the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Trade Organization and hosted the conference Making Trade Inclusive: How to Manage Trade Adjustment in November.

The workshop Services and Economic Transformation: Is Deindustrialization Really Premature? held in Tokyo in December brought together leading international researchers on services, including from the World Bank and the World Trade Organization, to see how the services economy can help promote structural transformation and long-run income growth, which in turn helps to promote sustainable development.

The Distinguished Speaker Seminar Series brings eminent persons to ADBI to encourage debate among policy makers, researchers, academics, think tanks, and other audiences interested in economic development challenges in Asia and the Pacific. Seven internationally known speakers delivered seminars in 2017.

Key Publications

The ADBI annual conference shares the results of selected major research activities with policy makers, the public, and media. Held in Tokyo with the theme Managing Private and Local Government Debt, ADBI’s 20th annual conference in 2017 aimed to identify and analyze factors behind sharply rising debt in Asia and the potential impact of excessive debt on sustainable development, and discuss effective measures for managing the challenges of high debt levels and reforms needed to meet such challenges. Case studies from the People’s Republic of China, Japan, India, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand were presented. About 100 leading scholars and experts from well-known research institutions, think thanks, and universities in Asia and Europe participated.

As of 31 December, 170 working papers had been published and uploaded to the ADBI website. PDF files of ADBI working papers can be downloaded for free on the ADBI website, adding to the value of the series for those researching economic development in Asia and the Pacific. The papers are also disseminated via the Social Science Research Network, the Research Papers in Economics database, and other networks.

ADBI staff published 34 articles in international peer-reviewed journals, including The World Economy, Journal of Corporate Finance, Asia Economic Policy Review, Singapore Economic Review, Asia Europe Journal, Journal of Asian Economics, Journal of Infrastructure, and Policy and Development.

As part of ADBI’s outreach activities, ADBI experts delivered lectures on ADBI priority issues at three universities in Tokyo in 2017: Keio University, the University of Tokyo, and Hitotsubashi University.

ADBI’s podcast, Asia’s Developing Future, was launched in July and had broadcast 61 episodes as of 31 December with 6,703 listens.