Our press review features the latest publications by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance, as well as mentions in the media. Output for November includes seven working papers, two journal articles, a conference presentation, and a PhD thesis. These cover job creation in Africa, social protection in Cambodia, and tax reform in China, among others. We were also mentioned in the francophone press of Senegal, by Le Soleil and REWMI, following our high-level conference in Dakar on 25-26 November.
‘Promoting productive employment in Sub-Saharan Africa’ provides an overview of current research and knowledge on employment trends and policies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prepared for the Knowledge Platform Development Policies of the Dutch Foreign Ministry, this working paper considers a range of policies to promote productive employment including trade, sectoral, innovation, population, employment and labour market policies. The report concludes with a discussion of emerging debates and contrasting views with regard to productive employment. By Prof. Adam Szirmai, researcher Dr. Mulu Gebreeyesus, PhD fellow Francesca Guadagno and Prof. Bart Verspagen.
‘Industrial policy and development in Ethiopia’ examines the choices, implementation processes, and outcomes of current Ethiopian industrial policy. This working paper takes Ethiopia as a case study, as it is one of the few countries that designed and rolled out a comprehensive industrial policy early on (when the term industrial policy was still a taboo in the international policy forums). By providing a detailed assessment of the policy practice, this study seeks to inform the ongoing industrial policy debate. By researcher Dr. Mulu Gebreeyesus.
‘Assessing Governance Assessments; The Case of Mozambique’ builds on contemporary discourse on the relationship between governance, aid effectiveness and development. The findings of this PhD thesis indicate that assessing governance requires a shift from donor-led governance assessment to country-led, joint assessments that build on country-specific analyses of what governance means, and towards a broad-based country ownership of the assessments processes and the results of the assessments. By affiliated researcher Dr. Laura Torvinen.
‘The effects of non-contributory social protection on adults’ labour decisions’, presented at the Fifth Bolivian Conference on Development Economics in Santa Cruz, argues that social transfers can be an instrument for economic inclusion, when implemented with correct targeting and complementary policies. The study recommends the need for robustness analysis and multidimensional estimation of rates of return. By Andrés Mideros Mora et al.
‘Doing R&D in a closed or open mode’ examines the dynamic process by which firms change R&D practices and how strategic choices affect their productivity growth. This working paper is based on the Statistics Canada Research and Development in Canadian Industry survey (RDCI), which collects data on R&D performed in the business sector in Canada for 1997-2006. The data analysis shows that there is a high level of persistence in the way of doing R&D at the firm-level, particularly for continuous R&D performers. The authors conclude that past experience in R&D is an important driver in the way that firms do their R&D. By PhD fellow Julio Miguel Rosa and Prof. Pierre Mohnen.
‘Estimation of rates of return on social protection’ estimates the rates of return (RoR) of non-contributory social transfer programmes in Cambodia using household data. Via a dynamic micro simulation, the working paper goes beyond standard cost efficiency analyses and shows that social protection promotes equitable economic growth by enhancing human development and fostering economic performance at the micro level. The study also demonstrates how micro simulation models can be extended to analyse the economic returns of social protection. By PhD fellow Andrés Mideros Mora, senior researcher Dr. Franziska Gassmann and Prof. Pierre Mohnen.
‘The impact of the 2009 value added tax reform on enterprise investment and employment’ uses the National Tax Survey enterprise data to assess the impact of China’s nationwide VAT reform of 2009 on enterprise fixed-asset investment and employment. The main finding of the working paper is that the reform significantly increased business investment in fixed assets, but had no obvious effect on employment. The author argues that the reform promoted corporate investment mainly by encouraging machinery and equipment, but not plant and building investment. By Dehua Wang.
‘The influence of ethnic segregation and school mobility in primary education on high school dropout’ investigates the influence of ethnic composition and school mobility in primary education on high school drop-out. Using household, school and neighbourhood administrative data, the the working paper estimates a ‘contextual tipping point’ effect of non-western peers on ‘school stable’ native Dutch students to verify potential causality between ethnic peer effects and school dropout. The authors argue that the complex interrelationship between ethnic peer effect, student ethnicity, school mobility, and early school leaving as uncovered in their paper mandates further research with a richer set of control variables and a wider sample to account for city and country effects. By PhD fellow Cheng Boon Ong et al.
‘Ethnic segregation and heterogeneous preferences… Evidence from the Netherlands’ examines ethnically differentiated preferences for neighbourhood ethnic composition among homeowners in the Netherlands. By exploiting rich neighbourhood-level administrative data linked to the 2009 ‘Dutch Housing and Living Survey’, the working paper tests a fully nonparametric empirical model of housing choice. The model shows evidence of assimilation with some homeowners of non-western migrant background having a negative willingness to pay for living next to more co-ethnic neighbours. By PhD fellow Cheng Boon Ong et al.
‘PATSTAT database for patent-based research’ builds on the idea that patent data present an important alternative to measure innovation. Besides primary data collected through surveys and longitudinal data collected through large-scale, often government sponsored surveys, patent data provide a unique source for understanding several dimensions of the innovative process. These include the emergence of new technologies; the geographic location of inventive activities at the level of firms, regions and countries; and partnership patterns between organisations and between inventors. The article shows how patent data can be combined with databases to address broader research questions. By Dr. Jojo Jacob.
‘Interactive Knowledge Exchanges under Complex Social Relations’ tests whether the small-world network structure is the most favorable for knowledge exchanges in developing countries. The article shows that the highest and most equitable knowledge distribution is achieved when there is perfect affinity among the agents, and contributes to the study of the economic-sociology of informal information sharing among small units in low-technology clusters. By PhD fellow Anant Kamath.
VIDEO: Mozambique Governance Assessments
Images: Flickr / Africa Renewal, DragonWoman. UN Photo / K.Park