Who can afford the Sustainable Development Goals? What are the benefits of innovative clustering? And how to include excluded groups in South African universities? These are just a few of the questions tackled by our researchers over the last month — in 13 working papers and four journal articles, among many others. Click here for the full list.
‘The affordability of the Sustainable Development Goals: A myth or reality?’ discusses the budget implications for governments aiming to fulfil the social development agenda of the SDGs, focusing on the areas of income poverty, health and education. The paper develops a monitoring instrument to assess 1) a country’s resource requirements needed for the implementation of the SDGs and 2) a country’s capacity to address this gap by constructing a comparable fiscal space instrument to assess the ʹSDG related fiscal stressʹ on the national social budgeting and financial planning. With this tool civil society can monitor the real commitments their government made towards realising the SDGs’ targets. By PhD fellows Patima Chongcharoentanawat, Kaleab Haile, Bart Kleine Deters, Tamara Kool and Victor Osei Kwadwo.
‘A new indicator for innovation clusters’ introduces a new approach for the definition of innovation clusters, based on the co‐location of concentrated patenting and manufacturing activity in the EU. The incorporation of data on both the production and use of technologies results in an indicator that depicts both formal and informal modes of innovation, and conditions which can be expected to be conducive to the generation, diffusion and absorption of innovation, and consequently the enhancement of competitiveness. The paper finds that certain types of patenting and manufacturing activity tend to co‐locate. Applying the new indicator in a test of the often hypothesised benefits of innovative clustering, the authors find that the identified clusters have consistently higher wages in the sectors concerned. By Dr. René Wintjes et al.
‘The effects of productivity and benefits on unemployment: Breaking the link’ presents a two-sided model of labour market search where household and firm decisions are decomposed into job offers, job acceptances, firing, and quits. In such a model, unemployment benefits affect households’ behaviour directly, without having to run via the bargained wage. In line with the evidence, productivity shocks may have quantitatively large effects on unemployment, while benefits only have moderate effects. The analysis shows the importance of investigating the effects of policies on the households’ work incentives and the firms’ employment incentives within the search process. By Dr. Alessio Brown et al.
‘The determinants of industrialisation in developing countries, 1960-2005’ contributes to the literature on the engine of growth hypothesis with an empirical analysis of the determinants of industrialisation. The paper focuses on manufacturing as an engine of growth, covering a sample of 74 countries for the period 1960-2005. The results indicate that industrialisation is faster for larger countries with an undeveloped industrial base, strong export performance, and undervalued exchange rates. Skills and knowledge accumulation played an increasingly important role since the mid-1990s. Robustness checks corroborate the validity of these findings. By Dr. Francesca Guadagno.
‘The effect of means-tested social transfers on labour supply: heads versus spouses – An empirical analysis of work disincentives in the Kyrgyz Republic’ finds that beneficiaries have on average higher labour market participation rates compared to non‐beneficiaries, but they are more exposed to seasonal effects. The analysis finds that household heads in beneficiary households are less likely to be economically active than similar nonbeneficiaries. Yet, spouses are more likely to be economically active. However, the effects differ depending on whether the household is located in the South or the North of the country. By Prof. Franziska Gassmann et al.
‘Determinants of citation impact: A comparative analysis of the Global South versus the Global North’ applies bibliometric and econometric analysis to identify which countries are producing research with relatively higher scientific influence, and to understand what factors lead to higher citation impact. The paper focuses specifically on the Global South because countries in this group are starting to converge in terms of output with the Global North. The authors find that previous citation impact, level of international collaboration and total publications in a specific scientific field are important determinants of citation impact among all nations. Yet, specialisation in particular scientific fields seems significantly more important in the Global South than in the Global North. They propose possible explanations for the patterns found and derive some policy implications. By PhD fellow Hugo Confraria, Dr. Lili Wang et al.
‘Mimetic behaviour and institutional persistence: A two-armed bandit experiment’ investigates whether and how agents’ self-efficacy beliefs affect mimetic behaviour and thus, implicitly the evolution of institutions. The paper proposes an experimental task, which is a modified version of the two-armed bandit with finite time horizon. In the first treatment, the authors study in detail individual learning. In the second treatment, they measure how individuals use the information they gather while observing a randomly selected group leader. The papers find a negative relation between self-efficacy beliefs and the propensity to emulate a peer. This might ultimately affect the likelihood of institutional change. By PhD fellow Stefania Innocenti and Prof. Robin Cowan.
‘Globalisation, technology and the labour market: A microeconometric analysis for Turkey’ studies how globalisation and technological upgrading affect the employment and wages of skilled and unskilled workers in a middle income developing country. The paper draws on a database covering all manufacturing firms in Turkey over the 1992‐2001 period. The results confirm that developing countries face the phenomena of skill-biased technological change and skill‐enhancing trade, both of which leading to an increase in employment and the wage gap between skilled and unskilled workers. By Elena Meschi, Erol Taymaz & Marco Vivarelli.
‘Fading hope and the rise in inequality in the United States’ studies the claim that the strong increase in inequality over the last decade in Western industrial countries such as the United States (US) would lead to increasing tensions between different socio-economic groups which might in turn hamper economic growth. The population’s fading hopes regarding the outlook on the future seem to confirm this. This paper qualifies this interpretation using survey data collected by the Pew Research Center for the People covering 1999–2014. Over the first decade, the decline in hope cannot be traced back to the rising inequality. However, recent data from 2014 suggest that inequality is now a major driver of a lower than ever level of hope. Hence inequality is a recent factor, not the driver of the long-term decline in hope. By Prof. Jo Ritzen and Prof. Klaus F. Zimmermann.
‘Including excluded groups: The slow racial transformation of the South African university system’ looks at the inclusion of excluded groups, notably the racial transformation of the South African university system. The paper presents a model of hiring (either randomly or on a homophilic basis), calibrated with data from the South African university system from the end of Apartheid. Evidence suggests that even a relatively small reduction of homophily increases the rate at which the excluded group enters the workforce, and also that the effects of homophily and feedback from previous hires are of a similar magnitude. Nonetheless, the conclusions from the model suggest that the relatively long duration of a research career and slow growth of the national university system will result in a slow process of racial transformation. By Prof. Robin Cowan et al.
‘Public policy and mental health: What we can learn from the HIV movement’ notes that mental health plays a key role in human development, both as a driver and as a goal in itself. Despite this, mental health has been strikingly neglected to date. The HIV movement has revolutionised health advocacy and registered remarkable successes in the past decades. This paper draws on the experience of this exceptional movement in order to find ways forward in the field of mental health. Adopting a broad analytical perspective, it discusses the differences and similarities between the fields of HIV and mental health and, based on this analysis, provides a concrete model for action that takes into account the peculiarities of mental health as a policy issue. By Dr. Zina Nimeh et al.
‘International standards certification, institutional voids and exports from developing country firms’ analyses the impact of International Standards Certification (ISC) on the export participation and the scale of exports of firms based in 89 developing or transition countries. The paper finds that certified firms are more likely to export, and to export on a larger scale, and that the impact of ISC runs through two channels: productivity and transaction cost economies. The authors show that certification plays an important role in bringing down transaction costs in international markets, while also maintaining and raising efficiency. This finding is reinforced by additional evidence, suggesting that ISC matters more for the export participation of domestic firms than for foreign firms and is of greater importance for firms based in countries characterised by severe institutional voids. By Dr. Micheline Goedhuys et al.
‘Multinational enterprises and economic development in host countries: What we know and what we don’t know’ studies the attraction of multinational enterprises (MNEs) as a key component of development policies. The paper shows that a sound FDI policy must not be exclusively concerned with attracting capital investment, but must seek to enhance the local embeddedness of the MNEs. The authors argue that poor data and weak methodologies mean making realistic estimations of development effects is increasingly fraught with difficulty, and that tools to measure linkages and spillovers are increasingly outdated. This makes it difficult to objectively judge if foreign investments have a net positive or negative effect, and whether such effects persist or attenuate over time. By Rajneesh Narula et al.
‘Left behind but doing good? Civic engagement in two post-socialist countries’ examines the link between the out-migration of relatives and friends and the pro-social behaviour of those left behind in two post-socialist countries — Bulgaria and Romania — the EU’s poorest, and among the least happy and most corrupt member states. The paper’s authors show that having close contacts abroad is consistently positively associated with civic engagement and that the cultural transmission of norms from abroad could be driving the results. Given the challenges faced by Bulgaria and Romania, this paper provides important insights for both national and EU policymakers. By Prof. Klaus F. Zimmermann et al.
‘Trafficking of women for sexual exploitation in Europe: Prosecution, trials and their impact’ illustrates that investigations, prosecutions and trials are often extremely long with mixed influences on the victims themselves. The study draws on fieldwork conducted in five European countries: Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Serbia and the Netherlands. A total of 40 interviews were conducted—with seven trafficked persons and 33 service providers in direct contact with victims. By PhD fellow Biljana Meshkovska, Dr. Melissa Siegel et al.
‘Innovating Teaching and Learning of European Studies(ES): Mapping Existing Provisions and Pathways’ investigates to what extent ES teaching uses student-centred approaches worldwide and what are the factors that influence the practical application of these methods. The research results do not highlight clear recurring patterns of interaction between the major indicators related to instructor profile, course profile and the selection of the innovative teaching approaches; however, a degree of uniformity and consistency is revealed in the practical application of innovative ES teaching worldwide across various disciplines. By Dr. Natalia Timuş, Dr. Victor Cebotari et al.
‘National strategies for securing a stable supply of rare earths in different world regions’ examines how distinct national policy styles, national interests, resource endowment and historical experience in tackling supply risk have shaped different policy choices. The findings of the paper show that despite their similar objectives, strategies undertaken by various regions tend to differ in their foci. 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’s and China’s policies instead, focus on development of domestic mining activities and on resource protection. By PhD fellow Eva Bartekova and Prof. René Kemp.