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Economic Research in the Philippines

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Economic Research in the Philippines:
A Brief Survey

Towards the end of his review of the history of economic theory, Niehans (1990: 518) observed how much progress through time could be explained by the sheer increase in resources devoted to the discipline, which—for a social- scientific and historical discipline like economics— consist primarily of human capital. This observation is no less true of economic research in the Philippines. Contemporary economics became established as an academic discipline in the Philippines with the return to the country from the late 1950s of the first holders of doctoral degrees from American universities. Since then an increasing number of Philippine education institutions have begun to offer graduate degrees in economics, adding a home-source to the supply of potential research scholars and making up for the diminishing flow of scholars with foreign PhDs. As a result, from the closing decades of the past century to the present,there has been a significant increase in the pool of potential economic researchers. For reasons discussed below, however, this pool remains small or is not fully utilised in relation to present intellectual tasks and global standards.
The paper reviews the main trends observed
in economic research in the Philippines over the past decade, although it does not pretend to be an exhaustive survey. Its emphasis is on published research conducted in the Philippines (and primarily by Filipinos), which originates primarily from universities and other research-oriented organizations, although unpublished work and internal papers (e.g., from government agencies and some multilateral organisations) that have not been made publicly available are by and large
excluded.

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