IDEAS is a non-profit research organization established in June 2012 in Lahore, Pakistan with a vision to strengthen the economic and social foundation of democracy in the country. IDEAS produces rigorous public policy research on issues critical for Pakistan’s social, economic, institutional, and political development. Working closely with academic, government and non-governmental partners, IDEAS engages in producing innovative, evidence-based, multidisciplinary research across four thematic research clusters. Over the past decade, IDEAS has become a knowledge hub known for producing work that is strategic, consistent and long-term.
The founding objective of IDEAS was to identify pivotal opportunities of policy reform through research, both in terms of feasibility and impact, and subsequently use that knowledge for advocacy and policy engagement. IDEAS was established to inform and broaden the policy debate by identifying and prioritizing issues in keeping with the Institute’s vision, to carry out rigorous research, and to advise and engage in policy design. The mission is also to support local research capacity to allow both state and civil society to access policy advice from locally based organizations.
Our organizational objectives include:
- To shape the agenda around popular policy discourse in our chosen areas of work;
- To use evidence-based research to shape relevant discourse and policy discussion; and
- To work on issues that help deepen Pakistan’s democratic, economic and social development.
The rationale for setting up an independent research institute, focused on economic and social policy making, is to empower Pakistani social scientists to work on issues that are critical to the country’s economic stability and democratic future. There is increasing consensus among most stakeholders that the economy requires deep and far-reaching reforms urgently. Long term institutional rigidities, which are undermining economic growth, are a serious impediment to widening economic opportunity and social mobility in Pakistan. Improving access and strengthening service delivery for enhanced human capital development continues to be a challenge despite recent gains. Placing the reform agenda within a border growth strategy is vital for identifying realistic trade-offs between policy options.
An important feature of our vision is our commitment to evidence-based research that uses rigorous mixed methods approaches as tools for analysis and to evaluate the impact of interventions and reforms. The research vision places great emphasis on understanding the incentives of political entities and other public policy actors, and their accountability to different interests. This is due to the realization that the failure to undertake effective reforms is not a result of poor technocratic solutions but on account of political economy and accountability miscarriages.
IDEAS is registered and incorporated under Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance Act of 1984 as a non-profit public company. The Board of Directors works in conjunction with a Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer to manage the institute.