Our press review features the latest publications by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance. Output for February includes four working papers, two journal articles and two PhD dissertations: tracking urban water management in China, poverty and risk management in Ethiopia, entrepreneurship in Colombia, forced migration in Burundi, and research joint ventures in an R&D driven market, among many others.
‘Forced Up or Down? The Impact of Forced Migration on Social Status’ uses a dataset on Burundian refugee returnees to explore their perceptions of the overall impact of migration on their community and household level social status. Focusing on the roles of gender and duration of migration, the article finds that gender does not seem to affect the perceived impact of migration on alienation from the community or the relative position of the returnee in the household. Results suggest that those returnees who spent longer periods of time abroad have a greater tendency to perceive migration as having a positive impact on their social status. The article discusses the policy implications of the results for return migration in a post-conflict context. By Dr. Melissa Siegel et al.
‘Entrepreneurship and its Analysis in Colombia’ is a literature review which tracks the different stages of Colombian industrial history up to the first decade of the 21st century. The paper finds a tight connection between public policy agenda setting and the definition of the research agenda of the topic. The authors also find a dualistic approach in the research of the topic, with universities and think-tanks leading the investigation on accumulative / innovative entrepreneurship, and a consultancy-bias group dedicated to the study of subsistence entrepreneurship. By PhD fellow Omar Rodriguez et al.
‘Research joint ventures in an R&D driven market with evolving consumer preferences: An evolutionary multi-agent based modelling approach’ presents an alternative approach to R&D collaborations using an evolutionary, multi-agent based and sector-level R&D model. Although R&D partnership is the least expected form of collaboration since knowledge creation is a core competence of a firm, the author of this working paper has observed acceleration in the number of such partnerships in the past few decades. This phenomenon has motivated economists to study the incentives of firms to collaborate in R&D and the effects of these collaborations on firms with different incentives. This study is a contribution to the discussion of the frequently encountered research questions in this literature and to furthering the understanding of the reasons behind the research results with the help of an agent-based model. By PhD fellow Salih Cevikarslan.
‘Poverty persistence and informal risk management: Micro evidence from urban Ethiopia’ studies poverty dynamics in urban Ethiopia with an emphasis on the effect of idiosyncratic shocks and informal risk management strategies. The overall results of this working paper suggest that public insurance programs that support poor households during ‘bad times’ may improve welfare by providing consumption insurance. Indeed, policies focusing on household heterogeneities such as exposure to risk, lack of education, personal skills and capacities, could have long lasting effects. The paper contributes to the understanding of poverty dynamics and the main factors underlying poverty transitions. By Prof. Théophile Azomahou and PhD fellow Eleni Abraham Yitbarek.
‘Risk preference or financial literacy? Behavioural experiment on index insurance demand’ uses a unique cross-sectional household data from Ethiopia to investigate the effect of risk preference, financial literacy and other socio-economic characteristics on demand for index insurance. The study findings have implications on product design and marketing strategies, by suggesting that the product design should focus on ways that better account for liquidity constraint of the household and that interventions that strengthen efforts in provision of financial literacy programmes are worthy. By PhD fellow Yesuf Awel and Prof. Théophile Azomahou.
‘Offshoring of medium-skill jobs, polarization, and productivity effect: Implications for wages and low-skill unemployment’ examines the effects of endogenous offshoring on cost-efficiency, wages and unemployment in a task assignment model with skill heterogeneity. The authors of this working paper analyse the general equilibrium effects of easier offshoring on task allocation within the domestic economy as well as in the foreign economy and address two contradictory hypotheses regarding the distributional impact of offshoring for domestic workers: a wage polarisation effect and a cost-efficiency effect. By allowing for equilibrium unemployment of low-skilled workers, they are able to capture important externalities in the labour market, such as the bumping down of medium-skilled workers inducing a crowding-out effect of low-skilled workers. By Prof. Joan Muysken, Dr. Thomas Ziesemer et al.
‘Urban water management reform: The case of China’ takes the example of China to argue that appropriate policy interventions might allow developing countries to achieve economic development with less capita water consumptions. This thesis shows that privatisation reforms and the participation of multinational corporations in the Chinese water sector contributed to productivity growth, and that environmental campaigns and public participation enhance citizens’ environmental awareness which in turn contributed to better water conservation. By Dr. Jinjin Zhao.
‘Work-Family Reconciliation and Use of Parental Leave in Luxembourg. Empirical Analysis of Administrative Records’ explores the work-family reconciliation trajectories of working parents and the role of parental leave in these trajectories, based on administrative data from Luxembourg. The results of this thesis suggest that the birth of a child is a turning point for a large part of women’s trajectories, often followed by an interruption or reduction of labour force participation. On the contrary, men’s labour force participation appears to remain constant before and after the arrival of the child in the family. Salary-related earnings are positively associated with the probability to remain in the labour force for women and negatively associated with the probability of taking parental leave for men. This PhD project was supported by the National Research Fund, Luxembourg. By Dr. Nevena Zhelyazkova.
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