How do regional powers secure rare earth supplies? Is Chinese research underrated? And why do some developing countries fail to invest in social protection? Just three of the questions tackled by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance in January 2016 — in five journal articles, seven working papers, and one research report, among others. Click here for the full list.
‘The structure and comparative advantages of China’s scientific research: quantitative and qualitative perspectives‘ uses two datasets based on publications in all journals and publications in the top 5 percent journals by discipline. This paper finds that, contrary to the criticism stated in previous literature, the quality of China’s research (represented by papers published in high-impact journals) is promising. Since 2006 the growth of scientific publications in China has been driven by papers published in English-language journals. The increasing visibility of Chinese science seems to be paving the way for its wider recognition and higher citation rates. By Dr. Lili Wang.
‘Catching-up in agricultural innovation: the case of Bacillus Thuringiensis cotton in India’ presents a conceptual framework that characterises the knowledge required for successful agricultural innovation against the backdrop of globalisation and rise of biotechnology. The article then examines the diffusion case of BT (Bacillus Thuringiensis, an insect-resistant seed technology) cotton hybrids in India to illustrate the dynamics of knowledge creation and catching up by the local seed firms based on their interactions with global as well as other local firms. The analysis reveals that local firms with absorptive capacity, i.e., the ability to effectively integrate location-specific (in-situ knowledge) and generic scientific knowledge (global knowledge) can catch up with global frontier technologies to gain significant domestic market shares. By Dr. Ajay Thutupalli and Dr. Michiko Iizuka.
‘The impact of hierarchical positions on the type of communication within online Communities of Learning’ investigates individual communication patterns within online courses. The results indicate that the higher participants’ hierarchical position, the higher their amount of social and cognitive communication, which in turn is also positively related to their network position within CoL. The authors also identified a sub-group of ‘Stars’ who outperformed their colleagues and who were at the centre of CoL, irrespective of their hierarchical positions. Consequently, the article proposes design and facilitation strategies to practitioners and organisers of future CoL that can foster the learning processes and outcomes of all participants. By Dr. Martin Rehm et al.
‘Human capital productivity, endogenous growth and welfare: The role of uncertainty’ aims at developing a theoretical framework that links policy interventions to educational outcomes. The authors characterise optimal policies and determine the conditions for enhancing social welfare. The article also studies the optimal growth of the economy under uncertainty and population heterogeneity when human capital is produced and used in the education sector. It shows that the growth rate of the unskilled population has a direct impact on the growth of human and physical capitals. By Prof. Théophile T. Azomahou et al.
‘Importing, productivity and absorptive capacity in Sub-Saharan manufacturing firms’ extends the recent literature on the importer-productivity relationship to a firm-level dataset for Sub-Saharan Africa. Using a cross-section sample of more than 3000 firms in 19 countries, the authors find that importers are more productive than non-importers. The article also examines the importance of absorptive capacity in enhancing the benefits from importing and finds that higher levels of absorptive capacity, as measured by human capital, are associated with a stronger relationship between importing and productivity. By Dr. Neil Foster-McGregor et al.
‘Rejected Afghan asylum seekers in the Netherlands: Migration experiences, current situations and future aspirations‘ provides a descriptive exploration of the experiences of Afghan migrants with regard to their journeys to the Netherlands and while living irregularly in the Netherlands. The paper‘s findings discuss the complexity of Afghan migration movements including root causes and transit experiences, the factors influencing the destination choice of the Netherlands, reception experiences and future aspirations. By Dr. Katherine Kuschminder and Dr. Melissa Siegel.
‘On the value of foreign PhDs in the developing world: Training versus selection effects’ compares the career effects of overseas and domestic PhD training for scientists working in an emerging economy, South Africa. The paper finds that those who received PhDs from universities in industrialised countries tend to be more productive than those whose PhDs were locally granted, but universities from industrialised countries do not necessarily provide better training than local universities. Pure selection effects contribute to career outcomes nearly as much as training effects. By Prof. Robin Cowan et al.
‘A semi-endogenous growth model for developing countries with public factors, imported capital goods, and limited export demand‘ devises a semi-endogenous growth model for developing countries with no machinery sector and no R&D. Looking at a vector-error-correction model for Trinidad & Tobago, the paper shows that additional expenditure for public investment increases output less than taxes decrease per capita consumption and therefore is sub-optimal there. Both temporary and permanent shocks on public investment have level effects supporting semi-endogenous growth modelling. Permanent shocks on the growth rate of world income and oil prices increase exports, private and public capital, education and consumption, and demonstrate that the VECM effects are in line with the logic of the theoretical model. By Dr. Thomas Ziesemer et al.
‘Institutional factors and people’s preferences in social protection‘ finds that Social Protection (SP) policies and institutions play multiple roles for the achievement of inclusive development. Over the last decade a paradigm shift took place whereby SP is no longer seen just as a cost for an economy, but instead as a social investment. Still, governments of low and middle-income countries are reluctant to invest in nationally-owned SP systems. Developing countries redistribute only a small share of GDP to households in extreme or persistent poverty. This paper estimates whether and to what extent the level of SP expenditure varies with institutional quality and people’s preferences using cross-country panel data. By Profs. Franziska Gassmann and Pierre Mohnen et al.
‘New variables for vocational secondary schooling: Patterns around the world from 1950-2010’ aims to fill the need to measure the skills acquired through different kinds of education by presenting consistent data on Vocational Secondary Schooling at five‐year intervals from 1950‐2010 for 129 countries. These data are constructed on the basis of existing UNESCO enrolment data and measures of secondary schooling from Barro and Lee. This paper describes both the methods used to construct the internationally comparable vocational secondary education variables and regional trends over the past 60 years. Separating education by type, vocational and general, is a first step toward better linking the educational purpose, at least in terms of workplace skill development, with economic results. By PhD fellow Alison Cathles.
‘Mexican manufacturing and its integration into global value chains‘ studies the value added contributions to final manufacturing output produced in Mexico. It distinguishes between contributions originating from foreign producers located in different major regions of the world economy and contributions made by domestic producers. The paper shows that the structure of value added contributions with regard to the final output of the Mexican domestic sector has remained unaltered, while the structure of value added contributions to the final output of the Maquiladora sector has drastically changed over time. In the authors’ view, those changes in the structure of value added contributions have to do with decisions by US firms to reallocate production to low‐cost countries in Asia. They reflect changing patterns of the integration of Mexico in global value chains. By PhD fellow Juan Carlos Castillo and Prof. Adam Szirmai.
‘Critical raw material strategies in different world regions’ explains why different world regions respond differently to the global problem of securing stable supply of critical minerals, in particular of rare earths. This paper first provides an in-depth overview of development trajectories of critical mineral strategies through a historical case study analysis of major stakeholder regions – China, the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia. Next, it offers answers as to why they have responded the way they did. The overall findings show distinctive differences in policy strategies towards critical materials. Whereas Europe opts for a policy dialogue with resource-rich countries, Japan and the United States have a more hands-on approach in research and development initiatives. Australia and China instead, strive to promote domestic mining activities and to protect their resources through resource nationalist policies. By PhD fellow Eva Bartekova and Prof. René Kemp.
Research Papers & Reports
‘Programas públicos de apoyo a la innovación en servicios. Lecciones desde Finlandia‘ tracks the important role of services in the world economy, and how the sector has sparked interest among academics and governments, specifically with regard to innovation dynamics and how to promote them effectively. This paper (in Spanish) for the Inter-American Development Bank presents the pioneering experience of Finland in innovation support services, particularly the Serve programme. By PhD fellow Fernando Vargas.
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