Our press review features the latest publications by and on UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance. Output for May includes 12 working papers, six articles, three reports, two books and one policy brief. We cover organic photovoltaics across three continents, innovation in India, investment in Africa, and migrant integration in eight cities around the world, among many others. NB: the images above lead to related papers.
‘Nanotechnology and Development: What’s in it for Emerging Countries?’ and ‘Innovation in India: Combining Economic Growth with Inclusive Development’ examine innovation from the perspective of developing countries. The first book identifies the nature and magnitude of the nanotechnology divide between high-income countries and the rest of the world. It also studies the determinants of the evolution and functioning of state policy and technology clusters in developed regions like the USA and the EU in order to identify strategies that can or cannot be replicated elsewhere. The second book uses ‘National System of Innovation’ and ‘Sectoral System of Innovation’ approaches to organize historical evidence on the accumulation of scientific, technical, innovation and industrial capabilities in different industrial sectors. The book analyses how technology and innovation have shaped different sectors in India and how this evolution has contributed to India economic growth, while largely failing to provide for inclusive development. By Prof. Shyama Ramani, with contributions respectively from Affiliated researchers Can Huang and Yilin Wu, Researcher Ad Notten (first book) and Prof. Adam Szirmai and PhD fellow Shuan SadreGhazi (second book).
‘Towards the societal system of innovation: The case of metropolitan areas in Europe’ studies new kinds of innovation and related policies that address societal challenges in the largest cities in Europe. This working paper argues that innovation and innovation systems are not only instrumental for economic benefits in a system-technocratic sense, but also for tackling societal challenges in a grassroots-communicative sense. The authors develop a theoretical-analytical framework defined as “the societal system of innovation”, which acknowledges the overlaps and linkages between existing types of innovation systems. By PhD fellow Serdar Turkeli and Dr. René Wintjes.
‘A New Global Partnership for Development: Factoring in the Contribution of Migration’ examines the relationship between migration and development and argues that migration should be part of the discussions for the post-2015 development agenda. This report, commissioned by the International Organization for Migration, provides a systematic update of the evidence base regarding migration’s relevance to and impact on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It further presents two ways in which migration could be incorporated in the post-2015 development agenda: i) situating migration alongside other “enablers” of migration such as trade in a reformulated version of MDG 8 on global partnerships; and (ii) through the inclusion of migration-related indicators as a cross-cutting theme in the new development goals. By Researchers Elaine McGregor, Nora Ragab, Teressa Juzwiak and Dr. Melissa Siegel.
‘Development projects from the inside out: Project logic, organizational practices and human autonomy’ connects human development thinking to the operational realities of project design and management. Published in the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, this article explores how externally supported projects influence local participants’ autonomy. The author shows that when practices constrain the opportunities and felt competence of individuals to help themselves, the “development” that is promoted is not sustainable. By Affiliated researcher Mirtha R Muñiz Castillo.
‘Multinational production and trade in an endogenous growth model with heterogeneous firms‘ oﬀers a uniﬁed framework to explore both the static and dynamic welfare eﬀects of trade and multinational production (MP) in the presence of ﬁrm-speciﬁc productivity heterogeneity. This working paper shows that multinational presence improves average productivity by strengthening the selection process among heterogeneous ﬁrms. At the same time, however, it leads to a lower growth rate of intermediate varieties along the transition path toward the new steady state. The authors concludes that the presence of multinationals has an ambiguous eﬀect on overall welfare. By PhD fellow Hibret Maemir and Dr. Thomas Ziesemer.
‘Epsilon-stability and the speed of learning in network games‘ introduces epsilon-stability as a generalisation of the concept of stochastic stability in learning and evolutionary game dynamics. The authors of this working paper construct an eﬃcient algorithm for computing epsilon-stable outcomes and provide conditions under which epsilon-stability can be approximated by stochastic stability. They deﬁne and provide tighter bounds for contagion rate and metastability as measures for characterizing the short-run and medium-run behaviour of a typical stochastic evolutionary model. By Prof. Théophile T. Azomahou and PhD fellow Daniel Opolot.
‘The political economy of research and innovation in organic photovoltaics (OPV) in different world regions‘ examines the status, prospects and organisation of OPV research, innovation and governance in three major world regions: Northern America, Western Europe and East Asia. Using a self-developed evolutionary cognitive-institutional framework of reference, the authors of this working paper find that the organisation of OPV research, innovation and governance in Northern America, Western Europe and East Asia reflects similar aspects, patterns with their political economies surveyed in the literature. By PhD fellow Serdar Turkeli and Prof. René Kemp.
‘Afghan unaccompanied minors in the Netherlands: Far away from home and protected?‘ aims to provide insights into the migration situation of Afghan unaccompanied minors (UAMs) in the Netherlands and the extent to which the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) is respected. This working paper contributes to the scarce literature on the largest group of UAMs in the Netherlands and in many European countries. The study finds that while the Netherlands does well on reception facilities, the standard of living and care, and work conditions, improvements can be made regarding educational opportunities, leisure, mental health care, integration and length of asylum procedure. By Dr. Melissa Siegel and Carla Buil.
‘Stability and strategic diffusion in network’ deﬁnes three convergence measures for characterizing the short-run, medium-run and long-run behaviour of a typical model of stochastic evolution. This working paper demonstrates how these measure can be employed to characterize evolutionary dynamics for coordination games and strategic diﬀusion in networks. The authors argue that the application of their results to strategic diﬀusion gives insights on the role played by the network topology. By Prof. Théophile T. Azomahou and PhD fellow Daniel Opolot.
‘Afghan returnees as actors of change?‘, ‘The changing nature of return migration to Afghanistan‘ and ‘Afghanistan’s displaced people: 2014 and beyond‘ are three articles featured in the 46th edition of Forced Migration Review. This edition of FMR analyses Afghanistan’s capacity to address the challenges of return, integration and reintegration, protection, access to rights, and continuing displacement of a large part of its population. By respectively PhD fellow Marieke van Houte; PhD fellow Katherine Kuschminder, Dr. Melissa Siegel, Prof. Khalid Koser et al.
‘Beliefs dynamics in communication networks‘ studies the dynamics of individual beliefs and information aggregation when agents communicate via a social network. This working paper provides a general framework of social learning that captures the interactive eﬀects of three main factors on the structure of individual beliefs resulting from such a dynamic process. The authors establish conditions on the structures of the communication network, prior beliefs and private information for public beliefs to correctly aggregate decentralized information. They also establish the speed of learning and its implications on eﬃcient information aggregation. By Prof. Théophile T. Azomahou and PhD fellow Daniel Opolot.
‘Policy perspectives of Turkey towards return migration: From permissive indifference to selective difference’ is the first paper of its kind to look at policy perspectives on return migration in Turkey, based on an analysis of official documents and a series of interviews with Turkish authorities, government officials and academics. This article published in Migration Letters identifies several perspectives ranging from the absence of specific legislation to control return migration, to concrete attempts to regulate the return of a select group of migrants, namely the highly skilled. Subsequently, it shows that these perspectives are built on a series of sometimes paradoxical arguments regarding economic development, past experiences about development initiatives and the country’s international objectives. By PhD fellow Ozge Bilgili and Dr. Melissa Siegel.
‘Corruption, investments and contributions to public goods: Experimental evidence from rural Liberia‘ analyses how corruption affects incentives to invest or contribute to public goods. This article, published in the Journal of Publish Economics, shows that corruption undermines incentives for voluntary contributions to local public goods and may reduce private investments of individuals subject to rent-seeking by the chief in real life. The authors provide weaker evidence that the impact of corruption on investments and contributions to public goods is heterogeneous, suggesting that this impact may be gender-specific and appears to vary with accessibility of communities. By Dr. Eleonora Nillesen et al.
A micro financing framework for rural water and sanitation provisioning in sub-Saharan Africa’ explores a hybrid mechanism of microfinance, based on community networks and third party collateral for meso-scale loans, to provide a different financing model for small community water and sanitation supplies. This joint report by UNU-INWEH and UNU-MERIT shows that access to low-cost financing coupled with a business model which provides incentives to water co-operative members can make financial sense for small communities. The authors argue that embedding these community water entities within local government structures provides a mechanism for sustainability and for eventual government management as part of the progressive realisation of rights. By Dr. Dorcas Mbuvi et al.
‘The impact of innovation support programmes on SME innovation in traditional manufacturing industries: an evaluation for seven EU regions‘ suggests that the “cream skimming” strategy – whereby programme managers systematically select firms on the basis of observable characteristics conducive to innovation – leads to firms being selected for programme participation that benefit less than would randomly selected firms. According to this working paper, allocation of innovation support by lottery should give rise to greater programme additionality than the prevalent “cream skimming” approach. By Senior researcher Hugo Hollanders, Dr. René Wintjes et al.
‘Beyond product innovation; improving innovation policy support for SMEs in traditional industries‘ draws data from a survey of more than 300 SMEs from seven EU regions, as well as case studies. This working paper finds that product innovation (and support used for product innovation) is less likely to generate growth, than (support used for) process innovation, and that (support used for) marketing innovations and organisational innovations are of particular importance – together with internationalisation, design and cooperation. The authors suggest that innovation support should be sensitive to the way SMEs in traditional manufacturing sectors innovate and grow. By Dr. René Wintjes, Dr. Hugo Hollanders et al.
‘Mid-Term Evaluation of Promoting Decent Work Across Borders: A Pilot Project for Migrant Health Professionals and Skilled Workers’ presents the results of the the mid-term evaluation of an EU-funded ILO project seeking to better understand schemes dealing with the circular migration of health professionals. Focusing on India, the Philippines and Viet Nam, the project documents the circular migration of professionals and highly skilled personnel in the health care sector through the development of specialized employment services and a system of skills testing. By Researcher Elaine McGregor.
‘Migration of international students and mobilizing skills in the MENA Region‘ uses both descriptive and comparative approaches to provide an overview of the migration of international students from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This working paper finds that the number of international students from the MENA region has increased substantially in recent years. The study corroborates a second hypothesis that international students from the MENA region are concentrated in few countries and supports the third hypothesis that skills of international students can be better mobilized in their countries of origin by addressing the push-pull factors that determine migration of skills from the MENA region. By Affiliated researcher Samia Nour.
‘Migrant and Refugee Integration in Global Cities: The Role of Cities and Businesses’ considers how businesses and governments in global cities contribute to the integration of migrant and refugee populations, either through outreach, specialized programmes, the provision of services, or targeted funding of non-governmental organisations (NGOs); and to what extent these contributions can be deepened or expanded. This policy brief is based on the study of eight cities around the world representing a diversity of immigration experiences: Auckland (New Zealand), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Chicago (USA), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Lisbon (Portugal), Nairobi (Kenya), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), and São Paulo (Brazil). By Researchers Teressa Juzwiak, Elaine McGregor and Dr. Melissa Siegel.
‘Challenges and opportunities for transition to knowledge-based economy in Arab Gulf countries‘ examines progress and challenges in the transition of Arab Gulf countries to knowledge-based economies. This working paper supports the first hypothesis concerning relative progress, challenges faced and variations in this transition across Arab Gulf countries. The author argues that it is essential for Arab Gulf countries to implement sound and coherent policies to enhance their transition to knowledge-based economies. By Affiliated researcher Samia Nour.
‘To return permanently or to return temporarily? Explaining migrants’ intentions’ studies migrants’ intentions to return to their origin country by making the distinction between permanent return, temporary return and participation in temporary return programmes. Using survey data from first generation migrants in the Netherlands, this working paper explores how migrants’ experiences regarding both the origin and destination countries are linked to their return intentions. The authors show that there are significantly more people interested in temporary return than permanent return. By PhD fellow Ozge Bilgili and Dr. Melissa Siegel.
‘Transition to knowledge-based economy in Saudi Arabia‘ discusses Saudi Arabia’s progress in its transition process to a knowledge-based economy. This working paper confirms the importance of supporting efforts aimed at enhancing the knowledge-based economy in Saudi Arabia. To improve the transition to a knowledge economy and achieve sustainable economic development, it is essential for Saudi Arabia to strengthen and improve knowledge by investing heavily in education, training, boosting knowledge absorption index and innovation through intensive spending on R&D. By Affiliated researcher Samia Nour.
Flickr / Oak Ridge National Laboratory / E.Zotov / K.R.Harsha