Our press review features the latest publications by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance. Output for November includes eight journal articles, three reports, three working papers and eight PhD dissertations: covering firm innovations in Latin America, the impact of remittances on developing countries, and return migration in Turkey, among many others.
‘Innovation for Economic Performance: the Case of Latin American Firms’ analyses a wide range of innovation indicators to describe the innovation behaviour of manufacturing firms in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) using the recently released Enterprise Surveys 2010. The aim of this paper is to understand the main characteristics of innovative firms and to gather new evidence on the process of innovation in the region. The analysis closes with an exploration of firm characteristics that strongly correlate with the probability of being a top R&D performer in the region. By PhD fellows Ezequiel Tacsir and Fernando Vargas, Dr. Pluvia Zuniga et al.
‘Measuring Remittances through Surveys: Methodological and Conceptual Issues for Survey Designers and Data Analysts’ explores the complexities and challenges linked to the design of surveys on migrants’ remittances. The article draws on the authors’ experiences over a number of previous studies on migrants’ remittances across a wide range of countries and contexts, with the aim to raise awareness of key methodological choices and their implications, not only among those engaged in survey design, but also among analysts who rely on data collected by others. By PhD fellow Sonja Fransen, Dr. Melissa Siegel et al.
‘The Impact of African Science: a Bibliometric Analysis’ highlights that African science, as measured by publications to gross domestic product, has recently risen above the world average. Yet, when looking at the equivalent ratio after controlling for population, there is still a huge gap to overcome. The paper also shows that South Africa seems to be the only African country where a reasonable share of new knowledge is connecting with innovation. By PhD fellow Hugo Confraria et al.
‘Policy Perspectives of Turkey towards Return Migration: From Permissive Indifference to Selective Difference’ is the first paper of its kind, based on analysis of official documents and a series of interviews with Turkish authorities, government officials and academics. It 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. The authors show 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 Drs. Özge Bilgili and Melissa Siegel.
‘Economic Growth under Stochastic Population and Pollution Shocks’ studies dynamics of interactions among economic growth, population, and environmental quality when stochastic shocks in these systems display long-memory properties. The paper provides an empirical examination evincing that adjustment of output to long-run equilibrium is very slow, thanks to slowly dissipating population and pollution shocks. By Prof. Théophile Azomahou et al.
‘Return to Afghanistan: Migration as Reinforcement of Socio-Economic Stratification’ explores the hierarchy of mobility among voluntary and involuntary return migrants to Afghanistan. The article argues that socio-economic differences that existed prior to migration are reinforced by the migration experience. In turn, this restricts expectations of return migration and development. By Drs. Marieke van Houte and Melissa Siegel et al.
‘A Continuous Labour Supply Model in Microsimulation: A Life-Cycle Modelling Approach with Heterogeneity and Uncertainty Extension’ addresses two key drawbacks of existing models. The first limitation is the inability to incorporate individual heterogeneity as every agent is sharing the same parameters of the utility function; the second is the strong assumption that individuals make decisions in a world of perfect certainty. Essentially, this paper offers an extension of marginal-utility-of-wealth-constant labour supply functions known as “Frisch functions” under certainty and uncertainty with homogenous and heterogeneous preferences. By Drs. Jinjing Li and Denisa Maria Sologon.
‘Destination Europe: Afghan Unaccompanied Minors Crossing Borders’ is an edited collection, bringing together research on the tangled relationship between children and borders with richly-documented ethnographic studies from around the world. The book provides an account of how borders affect children’s lives and, in turn, how children play a substantial role in the social life of borders. With contributions from Dr. Melissa Siegel, Carla Buil et al.
‘On Codes, Marriage, and Access to Justice: Recent Developments in the Law of Argentina’ addresses three main legislative developments in Argentina. The first deals with ongoing efforts to adopt a second generation civil code. The second deals with the 2010 adoption of same-sex marriages in Argentina — a first in the region. The third and final development deals with the right to access to justice, with a special focus on two vulnerable groups (women victims of violence and immigrants). All developments addressed in this report share common links, being part of a broader policy to give equal standing to all members of Argentine society. The report illustrates that in Argentina, as in other jurisdictions, the division of law into private and public tends to fade. By PhD fellow Julieta Marotta et al.
‘Situation Analysis of Children with Disabilities for the Development of an Inclusive Society in the Republic of Kazakhstan’ provides a situation analysis of children with disabilities in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The study reveals that the past two decades have been characterised by significant reform in the normative, legislative and regulatory frameworks that address the rights of children with disabilities. These improvements reflect Kazakhstan’s continued prioritisation of the protection and social inclusion of children with disabilities. By PhD fellow Michaella Vanore and Drs. Sepideh Yousefzadeh, Sonila Tomini and Franziska Gassmann.
‘Mobile Governance for Small Island Developing States – Strategy Knowledge Base’, ‘Mobile Governance for Small Island Developing States – Toolkit’ and ‘Mobile Governance for Vanuatu – Strategy and Implementation Plan’ form the three main reports produced for the project “Developing M-Governance Strategy for Vanuatu and Commonwealth m-Governance Toolkit”. The first report compiles a MGOV4D strategy knowledge base, paying particular attention to the needs of the Commonwealth SIDS. By providing a pool of potentially relevant MGOV strategies that the country can select from according to its goals and conditions, it enables the development of tailored national MGOV strategies. The second report presents a toolkit to guide the development of specially adapted strategies for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The third report contains the MGOV strategy for Vanuatu, developed through the toolkit by applying the SIDS strategy knowledge base. By PhD fellow Florian Henning et al.
‘Democratizing Intellectual Property Systems: How Corruption Hinders Equal Opportunities for Firms’ analyses how corruption affects firms’ ownership of intellectual property titles. This, in turn, relates to their technological, organisational and further innovation efforts in quality certificates and patents. Among other findings, the working paper shows that corruption reduces the likelihood of firms seeking quality certificates btu that corruption did not impact the quality certificate ownership of exporters or foreign/publicly-owned firms. By Caroline Paunov.
‘Structural Modernization and Development Traps: An Empirical Approach’ analyses economic developments through the lens of a newly developed index: the “structural modernization index”. This combines two key drivers of economic development: structural change and technological catch up. By proposing a new index to analyse the process of structural transformation that unfolds as countries develop, the paper highlights the fundamental role played by the structural modernization of the economy in the process of economic development and, at the same time, stresses the risks associated with the lack of such transformation. By PhD fellow Alejandro Lavopa and Prof. Adam Szirmai.
‘Do remittances Not Promote Growth? A Bias-adjusted Three-step Mixture-of-regressions’ re-examines the impact of remittance inflows on growth using data for developing countries over the period 1970-2010. The paper seeks to understand why it has been so difficult to find a positive impact of remittances on growth despite the rise in remittances toward developing countries and the various studies that have stressed the positive effect of remittances on poverty and inequality. The results show that the data are best generated by a model of two growth regimes. In one regime, remittances do not have a significant impact on growth while in the second regime, remittances have a positive and significant impact on growth. By Dr. Maty Konte.
‘Simultaneity in Transnational Migration Research: Links between Migrants’ Host and Home Country Orientation‘ explores the integration of Afghan, Burundian, Ethiopian and Moroccan migrants in the Netherlands, and their economic and social contacts with family and friends in their home country. The research reveals that better integrated migrants maintain more economic contact with their home country by sending financial remittances. Plus, contrary to public opinion, stronger social contacts with family and friends in the home country do not hinder sociocultural integration in the Netherlands. Consequently, it is important to recognize that more and more people live their lives simultaneously here and there, and integration succeeds as long as migrants have the ability to choose the way they make their lives. By Dr. Özge Bilgili.
‘Metachoice and Metadata Innovating with Environmental Policy Analysis in Europe‘ looks at three distinct routes to sustained improvements in environmental policy design and analysis in Europe. The first is an innovation with a form of economic analysis popularly used in environmental policy. The second is scrutiny of the human capital invested in policy analysis. The last explores the potential of the emergent phenomenon of Big Data to advance 21st century environmental policy analysis. By Dr. Sachin Badkas.
‘Moving Back or Moving Forward? Return Migration after Conflict‘ examines the idea that ‘when migrants return home after conflict, they will contribute to development and peace-building’. Based on this idea, countries throughout the European Union, including the Netherlands, promote the return of failed asylum seekers and undocumented migrants by assigning Official Development Assistance budgets to ‘Assisted Voluntary Return (and Reintegration)’ programmes, which consist of financial and in-kind assistance for those who return. The thesis argues that there is a mismatch between the allocation of development budgets and the development potential of return migrants: while the expectations on which Migration and Development policies are based are only true for a small minority of voluntary returnees, this is not the group that is targeted by policy. While providing an incentive for the return of unwanted migrants is in the interest of host countries, it is unjustified to use development budgets for this purpose. By Dr. Marieke van Houte.
‘Reshaping the Big Agenda: Transnational Politics and Domestic Resistance: Financial Crisis and Social Protection Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina‘ analyses the financial crisis and social protection reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina. By Dr. Yulia Krieger.
‘The Changing Role of the Central Planning Offices in Latin America, A Comparative Historical Analysis Perspective (1950-2013)‘ describes and analyses the major institutional variables and actors that have influenced the changing role of Latin American central planning agencies over the last 60 years. Accordingly, the differences in the trajectories that the planning organisation has followed and the variation across four countries under investigation – Argentina, Ecuador, Chile and Colombia provide analytical leverage for disclosing the causal mechanisms that propel change. By Dr. Luis Mejia Guinand.
‘An Evaluation of Tax-Benefit Systems Impact on the Welfare of Frontier Workers. The Case of Luxembourg and Belgium‘ examines the differences in social security systems and taxes in the European Union’s context and how these affect the income of individuals who reside in one country, but commute daily or weekly to another country for work, while keeping their residence place constant (called ‘frontier workers’). To some extent, the study can also be related to the broader topic of free movement for work, touching upon questions such as: how do different systems affect earners who work or have worked in different countries throughout their careers (e.g. researchers) and how does that impact their income. By Dr. Irina Burlacu.
‘Ethnic Segregation in Housing, Schools and Neighbourhoods in the Netherlands‘ looks at a West European country’s unintended transformation into an ‘immigrant nation’, specifically the causes and effect of ethnic segregation. One of the studies finds that native Dutch students in predominantly non-western minority primary schools experience a higher likelihood of high school dropout later in their lives. Using restricted-access administrative data for all primary schools in Amsterdam, the study predicts an increase of 5.4 percentage points to 8.0 percent in school dropout probability for native Dutch students who did not change schools frequently and were enrolled in primary schools with more than 77.7 percent non-western minority students. By Dr. Cheng Boon Ong.
‘Global Governance in the Management of Natural Resources: The case of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)‘ focuses on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a soft law instrument aiming to increase transparency in the management of revenues from natural resources. More specifically, the dissertation explores the conditions under which countries are more likely to adopt the EITI, how and why specific countries carry out an ambitious or “extensive” implementation of the instrument, and how the configuration of stakeholder positions (government, companies, and civil society) impacts the type of implementation activities in the selected critical cases (Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan). By Dr. Oxana Slobozhan.
MEDIA CREDITSFlickr / Gates Foundation, CIMMYT; UN Photo / Stuart Price