How does foreign direct investment shape high-tech industries in developing countries like Pakistan? What are the pros and cons of diaspora engagement in fragile countries of origin such as Iraq? How does parental absence impact the educational performance of children in West Africa? Just three of the questions tackled by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance in December 2015 — in three journal articles, four research reports, and six working papers, among others. Click here for the full list.
‘Influences of the regional and national economic environment on the technology transfer performance of academic institutions in Europe’ examines how different environments influence the knowledge and technology transfer (KTT) performance of universities and public research institutes. The article finds that having manufacturing companies and a large share of governmental R&D expenditure in the region matter more than the technology intensity and R&D intensity of the regional economy. This result is counter-intuitive and indicates that further research is needed in order to understand better where the clients of university technologies actually come from. By Nordine Es-Sadki et al.
‘Economic integration to send money back home?‘ investigates the links between economic integration and remittances sending behaviour through the cases of Afghan, Burundian, Ethiopian, and Moroccan first generation migrants in the Netherlands. This article demonstrates that economically-better-integrated migrants, especially those with secure employment, are significantly more likely to remit, remit more, and remit more for investment purposes rather than consumption. The author challenges the assimilationist perspective on the links between economic integration and homeland engagement, emphasises the significance of dual-engagement, and discusses the implications of this research for integration and development policy. By Dr. Özge Bilgili.
‘Educational performance of children of migrant parents in Ghana, Nigeria and Angola’ examines how transnational family formations relate to school performance of children who stay behind. School performance is measured through an index of grades in language, mathematics and science. This article shows that international parental migration (Ghana), internal parental migration accompanied by divorce/separation (Nigeria), and migration of both parents (Ghana and Nigeria) are likely predictors for decreased school performance. No effects are observed when parents are abroad and divorced/separated, when only one parent migrates, when children are in a stable care arrangement or when children receive remittances or not. These results show that the overall relationship between parental absence and education varies by the transnational dimension being analysed and by context. By Dr. Victor Cebotari et al.
Research Papers & Reports
‘Diaspora and peace: What role for development cooperation’ is a background paper for the eponymous conference held on 10 December 2015. The roundtable explored advantages and risks of diaspora engagement in fragile countries of origin and in what ways development cooperation could and should support such engagement – and what risks should be considered in this context. The allowed practitioners and researchers to jointly develop recommendations for development cooperation in the context of diaspora and peace. By Dr. Michaella Vanore, PhD fellow Nora Ragab and Dr. Melissa Siegel.
‘Evaluation of SDC’s Global Programmes Climate Change; Water Initiatives; Food Security; Migration and Development and Health’ assesses to what extent the Global Programmes of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) address the relevant policy themes with regard to global and regional challenges and to what extent they have influenced policies at international, regional and national levels. The evaluation further appraises through which means the Global Programmes have pursued results in policy influencing. By Dr. Melissa Siegel et al.
‘Migration and Development: A World in Motion – The Netherlands Country Profile’ sought to understand the background characteristics of different types of migrants (e.g., family migrants, labour migrants, refugees, and students) through the example of Moroccan, Afghan, Ethiopian and Burundian migrants in the Netherlands; to learn about their experiences as migrants; and to examine their homeland engagement and orientation toward family and friends in their countries of origin. The report seeks to answer these questions on a descriptive level based on the household surveys conducted among first-generation migrant households. By Dr. Özge Bilgili and Dr. Melissa Siegel.
‘Migration and Development: A World in Motion – Morocco Country Report’ collected data on migration and development in four regions of Morocco, each representing specific migration characteristics. The results of this report indicate on the whole that migration is positively associated with households’ income and subjective well-being in Morocco. By PhD fellows Silja Weyel and Craig Loschmann, and Dr. Melissa Siegel.
‘Poverty traps: the neglected role of vitality‘ proposes an integrated framework that incorporates both the ‘physical’ and the ‘behavioural’ dimensions of poverty in developing countries and their consequences for aggregate savings behaviour. To this end a concept is introduced, labelled ‘vitality’, which captures the idea that being near subsistence consumption levels not only has an impact on the ability to save, but also on the willingness to save. The authors introduce the notion of a ‘vitality threshold’ which marks a situation where the willingness to invest into the future changes. The existence of vitality thresholds implies that marginal changes in development assistance may have non-marginal long-term effects. By Prof. Joan Muysken & Dr. Adriaan van Zon et al.
‘Growth and innovation in the presence of knowledge and R&D accumulation dynamics‘ develops a model of growth and innovation in which accumulation dynamics of knowledge and R&D are explicitly considered. The model of knowledge dynamics highlights the role of human capital, physical capital, and accumulation in the creation of innovations; it also establishes the theoretical possibility of long-run idea-driven growth without the razor-edge assumption of Romer (1990), in the absence of growth in R&D employment stipulated by Jones (1995). This analysis also predicts the structure of estimation biases that can result from omission of relevant factors and failure to take into account the accumulation dynamics of knowledge and R&D. Findings provide recommendations for future empirical studies aiming to explain innovation. By PhD fellow Michael Verba.
‘Migration as a response to differences in human rights and income: A bilateral panel study‘ addresses the question of why migration persists despite welfare improvements in migrant-sending countries. The paper shows that migrants proceed to a location where the difference in freedom and income relative to their original location is large. Moreover, it is not only the origin-destination differences that play a role, but also the differences of these locations with the rest of the world. By PhD fellow Pui-hang Wong and Dr. Mehmet Guney Celbis.
‘Financial analysis of a biochemical cellulosic ethanol plant and the impact of potential regulatory measures‘ analyses which regulations work best to incentivise investments in Biochemical Cellulosic Ethanol Plants (BCEP). The production technology utilised in these plants is currently in the decisive development stage called ‘valley of death’. The financial model presented in this paper considers the micro level of an investment in one particular BCEP under variable combinations of assumptions and prevailing economic conditions. The results show that an ideally fixed price policy – a combination of a fixed price component and the variable price development of the relevant input factors – works best in relation to expected returns and cost of subsidy. This implies an important lesson for policymakers, who should favour flexible price mechanisms over simple fixed price regulations. By PhD fellow Martin Kügemann.
‘Pharaohs of the deep state: Social capital in an obstinate regime‘ analyses the process of ‘democratisation’ (or lack thereof) after the 2011 Egyptian Arab Spring uprisings in the context of ‘social capital’. This paper shows that the existing social capital network structure fostered and continues to foster the preservation of the authoritarian status quo. First, this paper shows that authoritarianism is preserved when an elitist power network is established and thrives as a direct consequence of the underlying institutional structure. Second, it argues that social capital structures can produce an environment which is unfavourable to democratic development. By Dr. Zina Nimeh et al.
‘The innovation-trade nexus: Italy in historical perspective (1861-1939)‘ investigates the relationship between trade and technological specialisation in Italy, during the long time span ranging from Unification to the eve of the Second World War. This empirical analysis shows the emergence of a positive relationship between specialisation in technology and specialisation in trade after the start of the country’s modern economic growth, around the turn of the 20th century. This, however, was uniquely driven by a negative relationship between technological specialisation and import shares, while no significant relationship between the former and export shares emerges. By visiting researcher Giacomo Domini.
‘Looking for the right path. Technology dynamics, inventive strategies and catching-up in the semiconductor industry‘ develops a new theoretical framework to study how firms tackle engineering design challenges to make new and better semiconductor devices. The thesis particularly focuses on the inventive strategies followed by catching-up firms. It identifies the structure of the system of engineering problems within the semiconductor industry and describes its evolution. By Dr. Giorgio Triulzi.
‘Knowledge flows and networks in the ICT sector: The case of Pakistan‘ primarily seeks to assess the role of FDI in a developing country context and its associated spillovers within a high-tech sector where the likelihood of knowledge flows and learning is the highest. Given the special nature of ICT – both in terms of attracting FDI and its potential for spillovers – the dissertation focuses on the ICT sector in Pakistan. By Dr. Baseer A. Qazi.
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