Our press review features the latest publications by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance. Output for December includes one book, three journal articles, 15 working papers, one paper, and one PhD dissertation: covering R&D tax incentives for Spain, the impact of brands on innovation in Germany, and whether internet infrastructure can reduce regional disparities in Turkey, among many others.
‘Corruption and Economic Activity: Micro Level Evidence from Rural Liberia’ studies how corruption affects economic activities of households in rural Liberia. The paper measures corruption by monitoring theft of project inputs by local chiefs and finds that corrupt community leaders cause reduced levels of income generating activities that are economically important: corruption leads to a 50% reduction in rice planted and to nearly equally large reductions in trade activity. By Dr. Eleonora Nillesen et al.
‘Switching Off or Switching Source: Energy Consumption and Household Response to Higher Energy Prices in the Kyrgyz Republic’ analyses the profile of household energy consumption and the impact of electricity tariff increases on the probability that households would switch to alternative energy sources. The results suggest that households would respond to an electricity price increase by increasing consumption of fuels; households would be likely to move away from electricity-only heating and towards stove-only heating. By Dr. Franziska Gassmann and PhD fellow Raquel Tsukada
‘Natural Resources and Violent Conflict: An Overview of the Literature’ discusses the literature on natural resources and violent conflict. The theoretical literature predicts that resource booms or discoveries may attenuate or accentuate the risk of conflict, depending on various factors. Regression analyses also produce mixed signals and point to a plethora of mechanisms linking resources to conflict. The empirical literature is gradually evolving from cross-country conflict models to micro-level analyses, explaining variation in local intensity of conflict. This transition has resulted in more credible identification strategies and in an enhanced understanding of the complex relation between resources and conflict. By Dr. Eleonora Nillesen et al.
‘Innovation Dynamics and Productivity: Evidence for Latin America‘ analyses a wide range of innovation indicators to describe the innovation behavior of manufacturing firms in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The study aims to understand the main characteristics of innovative firms in LAC and to gather new evidence with regard to the nature of the innovation process in the region. The authors find strong evidence concerning the relationships between innovation input and output, and innovation output and productivity. By PhD fellows Ezequiel Tacsir and Fernando Vargas et al.
‘Diverse We Stand: Horizontal Inequality and Ethno-communal Conflict in Indonesia’ aims to shed light on the drivers of (relatively) small‐scale ethno-communal violence within an ethnically diverse state, by quantitatively examining the relationship between horizontal inequalities and ethno‐communal violence. Specifically, the working paper addresses the complexity in assessing the effect of horizontal inequality on ethno‐communal conflict in Indonesia. The study adds to the existing literature on horizontal inequalities and conflict by highlighting the notion that there is not a single dimension with a clearly stronger explanatory strength than another. Rather, it is the combination of different facets of horizontal inequality that enables to uncover the variation in the data. By Dr. Zina Nimeh et al.
‘Lab-oriented Radical Innovations as Drivers of Paradigm Shifts in Science’ examines the drivers of breakthroughs and paradigm shifts in science. The study confronts the issue by analysing a main case study: the technological determinant of the discovery of quasi-periodic materials that has generated a scientific paradigm shift in crystallography. Technological analysis of this study explains the critical role of specific technologies supporting knowledge creation and scientific discoveries to understand vital drivers of scientific fields and fruitful linkages that run from technological to scientific progress. By Dr. Mario Coccia.
‘Technology & Environment: Some Possible Damaging Effects of Technological Change in Advanced and Opulent Societies’ deals with the effects of the predominant impact of technological change on the health of societies. This working paper considers technological change as the human activity that generates a huge impact on societies and causes environmental disorders affecting the health of population. It shows that a main effect of the critical impact of technological change on societies is the high cancer incidence of population living in industrialised areas of opulent and advanced countries. By Mario Coccia.
‘Temperate Climate – Innovative Outputs Nexus’ analyses the relationship between geo-climate zones of the globe and technological outputs in order to detect favourable areas that spur higher technological change and, as a consequence, human development. The study’s main finding is that innovative outputs are higher in geographical areas with a temperate climate (latitudes). Warm temperate climates are favourable environments for human societies that, by a long-run process of adaptation and learning, create platforms of institutions and communications systems, infrastructures, legal systems, economic governance and socio-economic networks that support inventions and diffusion of innovations. By Mario Coccia.
‘Leadership-driven Innovation & Evolution of Societies’ looks at which economic subjects are the sources of radical innovations and high technological performances. The study shows that purposeful country-systems with high economic military potential, supported by a strategy of high R&D expenditures, and the objective of global leadership, winning international conflicts against other great powers, tend to generate several inventions and radical innovations that are spread, in the long run, across wide geo-economic areas. By Mario Coccia.
‘The Geographic Dimensions of Institutions’ examines the role of institutions relative to economic performance, absolute geography and financial performance of a country. The working paper shows that there is a necessity to take spatial interactions with neighbouring countries into account while analysing the relationships between institutions, geography, economic and financial performance of a country. The study finds that while the impact of space on geography is very obvious, it has no bearing on the financial performance of countries. By Dr. Samyukta Bhupatiraju.
‘Multi-level Determinants of Inward FDI Ownership’ provides an empirical analysis of the determinants of FDI ownership into developing countries. In the author’s view, there is a gap between analysis at the country level studies and firm level studies on inward FDI. The study fills the gap by doing a multi-level regression analysis, taking into account both firm variables and country characteristics to explain inward FDI ownership. The author finds that firm structural characteristics and obstacles they face most affect inward FDI. While some macroeconomic variables such as GDP per capita, inflation and openness have a significant influence, other variables that measure institutional quality of a country do not have any statistically significant influence on FDI inflow. By Dr. Samyukta Bhupatiraju.
‘Has the Internet Fostered Inclusive Innovation in the Developing World’ shows that knowledge spillover effects from industries’ use of the Internet have boosted the average firm’s productivity and innovation performance. The study documents that the Internet can play an important role to support inclusive innovation, conditional on firms’ “absorptive” capacities. Having more inclusive innovation processes is particularly critical in many emerging and developing countries, as in these economies often only a very small number of firms innovate. However, the authors also find that only the more productive firms among those types of firms benefited more than others. This points to the continued importance of policies aimed at building firms’ innovation capacities. By Caroline Paunov and Valentina Rollo.
‘How can Political Trust be Built After Civil Wars? Lessons from post-conflict Sierra Leone’ investigates the channels through which trust in a poorly trusted government body can be developed. Based on survey data from Sierra Leone, the statistical analysis examines three mechanisms through which political trust can be built: improved public services, clean administration, and responsive governance. The paper finds that local governments which are willing to listen and respond to their people are more likely to be trusted by the public. The paper’s findings suggest that, though enhancement of public services may carry other strategic or normative values, listening and responding to the locals are the most effective ways of restoring trust and peace. By PhD fellow Pui-hang Wong.
‘The Republic of Open Science: The Institution’s Historical Origins and Prospects for Continued Vitality’ considers the difference between historical origins of open science and its modern, critically important role in the allocation of research resources. According to the paper, the main lessons and implications for the future vitality of open science institutions is that research communities of this kind possess not only the technical and organisational ingenuity, but also the organisational capabilities to apply them to sustain their culture and protect their characteristically efficient collaborative modes of conducting socially valuable exploratory, fundamental research. To go on doing this, however, they must be adequately supported by external, public and charitable sources of funding, and nurtured by “top down” public policy actions that reinforce and help them reproduce the ethos of open science in successive generations of university‐trained researchers. By Prof. Paul David.
‘Tax Incentives and Firm Size: Effects on Private R&D Investment in Spain’ explores the effectiveness of R&D tax incentives on knowledge capital accumulation in Spanish manufacturing firms. The study finds that while large firms use the programme more than small ones, the impact of the programme measured by the price elasticity is smaller for large firms than for SMEs. The price elasticities are higher when the ex‐ante claimable tax reductions rather than the ex‐post actually claimed tax reductions are used to compute the user cost of R&D. By Dr. José M. Labeaga Azcona. Dr. Ester Martínez-Ros and Prof. Pierre Mohnen.
‘International R&D Spillovers and Business Service Innovation’ analyses international spillovers at the industry level and for the first time investigates effects from the services sector in this framework. The study‘s results indicate significant positive productivity effects from innovation in knowledge intensive, high technology business services and confirm the productivity effects from international manufacturing spillovers found in the recent literature. Overall the results confirm the importance of R&D spillovers from the services sector. They also show the necessity to take into account other motives for offshoring, such as factor price differences. By Dr. Neil Foster-McGregor et al.
‘Obesity of Women in Jordan – Prevalence and Associated Factors: Making a Case for a Comprehensive Obesity Policy’ analyses the current burden of obesity in the female population of Jordan on a national scale and examines the factors associated with it. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that being obese was significantly associated with increasing age, being married and having only primary education. This paper contributes to the increasing research on obesity in Jordan, and confirms many findings of smaller studies, by including a larger sample size and greater geographic coverage, on a national scale. The contextual policy analysis reveals that the public health efforts of the Jordanian government are relatively limited in this area, and concludes by trying to make a case for a more comprehensive approach in order to moderate the health impact of obesity in Jordan. By Dr. Zina Nimeh et al.
‘Can Internet Infrastructure Help Reduce Regional Disparities? Evidence from Turkey’ presents novel evidence regarding the role of regional internet infrastructure in reducing regional per capita income disparities. The study is based on the assumptions that (1) the diffusion of information homogenises regional economies through reducing the dissimilarities in institutions and culture, and (2) the telecommunication capacity, represented as the internet infrastructure of a region, facilitates this flow of information. Using the data from the twenty-six statistical regions of Turkey, the authors find evidence that internet infrastructure has contributed to regional convergence during the period 1999-2011. They also observe that the Turkish economic geography is defined by a strong core-periphery pattern and significant spatial clustering. By PhD fellow Mehmet Guney Celbis et al.
‘Contributions and Barriers to Knowledge Transfer: The Experience of Returning Experts’ examines the knowledge transfer that results from returning experts (RE). In so doing the paper distinguishes between tacit and explicit knowledge transfer, analyses the perspective of both the knowledge sender and receiver, and considers barriers that may hinder the knowledge transfer and creation process. The study, produced on behalf of the Migration for Development (PME) Programme, which is being implemented by the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), makes several recommendations for the improvement of the support offered by CIM to REs. By Dr. Katherine Kuschminder, Research assistant Georgina Sturge and PhD fellow Nora Ragab.
‘School Enrolment and Child Labour Agency and Participation in Childhood’ is a chapter of the book ‘Agency and Participation in Childhood and Youth’. The book presents new critical engagement in conceptualising the roles of youth agency and participation in education, development and the pursuit of social justice. It unravels the complex relationships between the nature of youth agency and participation, in education, but also in wider political, economic and social arenas, and the potential of young people to expand their freedoms to lead lives they have reason to value. It is thus argued that ethical, sustainable development is contingent on the nature of youth agency and participation in schooling and further afield. By Dr. Zina Nimeh and Dr. Robert Bauchmüller
‘The Impact of Brands on Innovation and Firm Performance – Empirical Evidence from Germany’ explores the impact of brands on innovation and firm performance. The empirical studies rely on the Mannheim Innovation Panel (MIP) which constitutes the German part of the international harmonised Community Innovation Survey (CIS). These surveys are representative for German firms and thus contain many small and medium-sized firms. Most of these firms are not required to publish any data. The inclusion of these firms constitutes an important difference to several existing studies. Existing studies which rely on publicly available firm level information, use most likely a selective sample of large firms which are not representative of the economy. The studies of this dissertation overcome this limitation and fill a gap in the literature as the findings are not related to large and famous global brands, but investigate the role of brands for a representative sample of German firms. By Dirk Crass.
Flickr / A.Radford, O.Palsson, FaceMePLS