How can poor countries avoid development traps? Are remittances a curse for African democracy? Is technology a double-edged sword for emerging economies? Just three of the many questions tackled in March by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance. Our most recent publications are detailed below, including one book, one journal article, six working papers, and two PhD theses. Click here for the full list.
‘Information and Communication Technology in Sudan: An economic analysis of impact and use in universities’ discusses the economic impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in public and private Sudanese universities. The book finds clear positive correlations between the use of ICT and literacy rate, per capita income, and rate of urbanisation. However, the author finds a negative correlation between the use of ICT and the poverty gap ratio. Results confirm theories about the links between ICT, age and educational level in Sudan – the so-called ‘digital divide’. By affiliated researcher Dr. Samia Nour.
‘The nature and incidence of workgroup innovation in the Australian public sector: Evidence from the 2011 State of the Service survey’ uses data from a nationally representative survey of all Australian Government employees to explore the nature of innovation implemented at the workgroup level and to assess the multi-dimensionality of the workgroup’s ‘most significant innovation’ (MSI). The article reveals that 54% of the reported MSIs incorporate between two and five dimensions of innovation types (policy, service, service delivery, administrative/organisational, and conceptual), and that most of these dimensions reinforce each other. The findings help strengthen an understanding of the influencing factors and the effects of multi-dimensional public sector innovations. By Prof. Anthony Arundel et al.
‘Human capital, innovation and the distribution of firm growth rates’ focuses on the occurrence of high-growth firms in relation to human capital and innovation. The paper finds that both human capital and R&D increase the likelihood that a firm is a high-growth firm. From a policy perspective the results recommend the use of more integrated policies, focusing not only on stimulating R&D but also on the quality of human capital to foster the development of high-growth firms. By Dr. Micheline Goedhuys et al.
‘Evolutionary convergence of the patterns of international research collaborations across scientific fields’ studies international collaborations from 1997-2012 and compares results with earlier studies to track the evolution of collaboration patterns in different scientific fields. The paper finds that, despite the fast growing intensity of international collaborations in different scientific disciplines, the general collaboration structure remains unchanged. The nature of academic disciplines is the primary factor in determining the patterns of international research collaborations. In the evolutionary process of science, however, the gap of research genres between theoretical and applied sciences has been significantly narrowed down over time. By Dr. Lili Wang et al.
‘North-South FDI and bilateral investment treaties’ deals with the problem of endogeneity when estimating the effects of BITs on inward FDI. The paper indicates that forming a BIT with a developed country approximately doubles FDI inflows and stocks to developing countries on average, with a significant part of this arising from the development of new FDI relationships. The effects of BIT formation on FDI tend to increase with the size and similarity of the host and source economies and BITs may be complementary to institutional quality in the host country. By Dr. Neil Foster-McGregor et al.
‘The location strategies of multinationals from emerging countries in the EU regions’ contributes to the current debate in both economic geography and international business on the nature and strategies of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) from emerging countries (EMNEs). The paper fills a gap in the literature by shedding new light on the location strategies of EMNEs at the national and regional levels, looking at their investment drivers and systematically comparing them with those of multinationals from advanced countries (AMNEs). By Dr. Carlo Pietrobelli et al.
‘Innovation and productivity in services and manufacturing: The role of ICT investment‘ focuses on understanding the determinants of investments in ICT at firm level and how this adoption ultimately affects innovation and productivity of Uruguayan services firms on manufacturing. The paper shows that both ICT and other innovation investments are positively associated with productivity in services but only ICT affects productivity in manufacturing. Interestingly, the absence of investment in ICT is associated with lower levels of productivity. By PhD fellow Ezequiel Tacsir et al.
‘The effects of remittances on support for democracy in Africa: Are remittances a curse or a blessing?‘ examines the effect of remittances on the legitimacy of democracy in Africa, testing whether remittance recipients are less likely to support democracy than are non-recipients. The paper suggests that remittances may be a curse for the degree of endorsement and support for democracy depending on the cluster of individuals that is considered. By Dr. Maty Konte.
‘Structural transformation and economic development. Can development traps be avoided’ addresses the question of why some countries remain poor while others manage to reach the living standards of advanced economies, reducing their gaps in terms of technology, income and social welfare. This PhD thesis postulates that success (or failure) in economic development is closely related to the ability of developing countries to transform their economic structure and move towards the production of goods with higher technological levels and larger demand in world markets. By Dr. Alejandro Lavopa.
‘Growth dynamics and development: Essays in applied econometrics and political economy’ examines how political institutions affect economic crises and the impact of changes in average income and distribution on poverty. This PhD thesis shows that negative regime changes affect the probability of economic crises, and outlines a theory illustrating how the duration of economic declines depends on the strength of political institutions and ethnic heterogeneity. The research also shows that the pace of poverty reduction will slow down. An optimistic scenario suggests a poverty rate of 8-9%, far short of the World Bank’s new 3% target. By Dr. Richard Bluhm
Images: UNU / H.Pijpers
Video: UNU / H.Hudson