Which countries are leading the fourth industrial revolution and which are being left behind? A new paper uses patent data to identify technology leaders and trade data to identify producers and users of these technologies. It then relates the use of these technologies to industrial development indicators.
What shapes the migration decisions of individuals within the EU? A new paper considers educational and career development opportunities, preferences for particular cultures, lifestyles, political systems and social norms, and the pursuit of self-knowledge, among other mobility drivers.
What are the economics of Brexit? A new paper surveys the academic literature in terms of trade, migration and foreign direct investment, before considering the short-run effects of the vote and the expected long-term consequences of ‘Brexit proper’.
These are just a few of the questions tackled by our researchers in December 2019 — in two book chapters, six working papers, and two PhD dissertations, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
‘Modern industrial policy in Latin America: Lessons from cluster development policies‘ is a book chapter that examines the locally-based forms of active policies that have proliferated in Latin America as an a modern approach to industrial policies, and an example for other developing countries. Such an approach has typically included clever interactions of private and government sectors, a process of search and discovery of the necessary public policy inputs, and an interactive design and implementation of these policies. By Prof. Carlo Pietrobelli.
‘Innovation in Global Value Chains’ focuses on innovation in global value chains and on the role that such chains play in building and deepening capability. This book chapter in the Handbook on Global Value Chains argues that global value chains interact with innovation systems in multiple ways and that these interactions have important implications for the speed, depth and overall quality of capability building in developing-country firms. The authors outline five innovation capability trajectories and show how capability building at the firm level interrelates with the various ways in which global value chains and innovation systems co-evolve. By Prof. Carlo Pietrobelli et al.
‘Afghan diaspora in Europe: Mapping engagement in Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom’ provides a capacity and needs assessment of the Afghan Diaspora Organisations (ADOs) and develops recommendations for further ADO engagement. The report focuses on motivating factors in diaspora life, the challenges that a fractured diaspora faces, and political participation in the residence countries. The study highlights the role of religious actors in diaspora activities, the role of remittances, risk of return of failed asylum seekers, and stricter family reunification rules in the focus countries. The study further looks at the overall organisational landscape of ADOs, challenges and needs to engagement both at host countries and in Afghanistan, and collaboration and coordination efforts among ADOs. By Dr. Biljana Meshkovska, Nasrat Sayed, Katharina Koch, PhD fellow Iman Rajabzadeh, Prof. Melissa Siegel et al.
‘Decision making on the Balkan route and the EU-Turkey statement‘ focuses on specific policies and their role in decision making, recognising that decision making is a complex phenomenon influenced by multiple factors. Consistent with earlier research, the study finds that the most significant factors for refugees and migrants’ decisions regarding onward movement from Turkey continue to be: employment, legal rights, quality of life, and family reunification. By Dr. Katherine Kuschminder, Talitha Dubow et al.
‘R&D, embodied technological change, and employment: evidence from Italian microdata’ explores the employment impact of innovation activity, taking into account both R&D expenditures and embodied technological change (ETC). Using a novel panel data set covering 265 innovative Italian firms over the period 1998–2010, the article finds a labour-friendly nature of total innovation expenditures. However, this positive effect is barely significant when the sole in-house R&D expenditures are considered and fades away when ETC is included as a proxy for innovation activities. Moreover, it finds that the positive employment impacts of innovation activities and R&D expenditures are totally due to firms operating in high-tech industries and large companies, and detects no job creation due to technical change in traditional sectors and SMEs. By Prof. Marco Vivarelli et al.
‘Beyond R&D: the role of embodied technological change in affecting employment’ tests the employment impact of distinct types of innovative investments using a representative sample of Spanish manufacturing firms over the period 2002–2013. The study’s GMM-SYS estimates generate various results, which are partially in contrast with the extant literature. Indeed, estimations carried out on the entire sample do not provide statistically significant evidence of the expected labour-friendly nature of innovation. However, the job-creation impact of R&D expenditures becomes highly significant when the focus is limited to the high-tech firms. On the other hand – and interestingly – ETC exhibits its labour-saving nature when SMEs are singled out. By Prof. Marco Vivarelli et al.
‘Unintended consequences of China’s new labor contract law on unemployment and welfare loss of the workers’ examines to what extent firms circumvented China’s new labour contract law of 2018 by dismissing their formal-contract employees who have been employed for more than 10 years. Additionally, the article shows that the dismissed workers suffered significant welfare loss in terms of happiness. By Prof. Zhong Zhao et al.
‘Overconfident people are more exposed to “black swan” events: a case study of avalanche risk‘ tests whether overconfident backcountry skiers underestimate the probability of incurring a snow avalanche accident. An avalanche accident is a typical “black swan” event because it has a very low probability of occurring but with potentially dramatic consequences. The study suggests that overconfident people are more exposed to black swan events, by taking a risky decision that can bring about fatal consequences. By Prof. Enrico Rettore et al.
‘IC technology and learning: an impact evaluation of Cl@ssi 2.0‘ presents the results of an evaluation of the causal effect of ICT on student achievements, controlling for their initial level. The authors find that despite a significant investment, the impact on literacy and numeracy achievement is negligible. By Prof. Enrico Rettore et al.
‘Racial discrimination in local public services: A field experiment in the US‘ examines whether racial discrimination exists in access to public services in the United States. The study finds that emails from putatively black senders are almost 4 percent less likely to receive an answer compared to emails signed with a white-sounding name. Moreover, responses to queries coming from black names are less likely to have a cordial tone. Further tests suggest that the differential in the likelihood of answering is due to animus toward blacks rather than inferring socioeconomic status from race. Finally, the study shows that attitudes toward the government among blacks are more negative in states with higher discrimination. By Dr. Corrado Giulietti et al.
‘The economics of Brexit‘ surveys the economics academic literature on Brexit. The survey is organised in: pillars, channels, and consequences. The two building blocks to understand Brexit are the economic history of the UK-EU relationship and the literature on the political economy of globalisation and populism. The paper then reviews the evidence on the standard mechanisms through which the UK benefited from EU integration (trade, migration and FDI). Next it surveys the short-run effects of the vote and discuss expected long-term consequences of “Brexit proper.” It concludes by identifying some main gaps in the economics literature on Brexit. By Prof. Nauro F. Campos.
‘Institutional integration & economic growth in Europe‘ argues that literature on the growth effects of European integration remains inconclusive. This is due to severe methodological difficulties mostly driven by country heterogeneity. This paper addresses these concerns using the synthetic control method. It constructs counterfactuals for countries that joined the European Union (EU) from 1973 to 2004 and finds that growth effects from EU membership are large and positive, with Greece as the exception. Despite substantial variation across countries and over time, the authors estimate that without European integration, per capita incomes would have been, on average, approximately 10 percent lower in the first 10 years after joining the EU. By Prof. Nauro F. Campos et al.
‘Economic integration & state capacity‘ investigates whether and how economic integration increases state capacity. The study finds that deep integration can induce broad institutional change by providing incentives for simultaneous change in core state institutions. Bureaucratic independence and judicial capacity seem to be the key engine of the process engendered by the prospect of EU membership. Yet early and abrupt removal of external anchors might generate significant backsliding, or reversals, in domestic institutional change. By Prof. Nauro F. Campos et al.
‘Business cycle synchronisation and currency unions: A review of the econometric evidence using meta-analysis‘ offers a systematic evaluation of the evidence on the effects of currency unions on the synchronisation of economic activity. Focusing on Europe, the authors construct a database of about 3000 business cycles synchronisation coefficients including their design and estimation characteristics. They find that: (1) synchronisation increased from about 0.4 before the introduction of the euro in 1999 to 0.6 afterwards; (2) this increase occurred in both euro and non-euro countries (larger in former); and (3) there is evidence of country-specific publication bias. By Prof. Nauro F. Campos et al.
‘Relative concerns and sleep behavior‘ investigates the relationship between relative concerns with respect to income and the quantity and quality of sleep using a six-year panel dataset on the sleep behaviour of people in Germany. The study finds a substantial negative association between relative income and number of hours of sleep and satisfaction with sleep. The sleep loss associated to relative concerns is about 6–8 min/week on average. The loss is stronger among relatively deprived, i.e., upward comparers, with 10–12 min/week. The relationship is heterogenous among people with different working hours and leisure activities. The association is also stronger among unhealthy individuals with higher stress. By Dr. Alpaslan Akay et al.
‘Beyond the average: Ethnic capital heterogeneity and intergenerational transmission of education‘ estimates the effect of ethnic capital on human capital investment decisions. The paper finds that children of low-educated parents benefit significantly from the presence of high-educated parental peers of the same ethnicity. High educated parental peers from other ethnicities do not influence children’s learning achievements. The findings further suggest an increase in parental aspirations as a possible mechanism driving the heterogeneous ethnic capital effects, implying that profiling peers or ethnic role models could be important for migrant integration policies. By Prof. Klaus F. Zimmermann et al.
‘The potential for innovation in mining value chains. Evidence from Latin America‘ tries to broaden the scope and understanding of innovation in the mining sector, with a focus on emerging countries based on the experience of Latin America. It discusses the innovation processes that are developing in the mining sector of emerging countries, and uses the global value chains (GVC) approach to analyse the potential available to local firms. The paper argues that there is a need to rethink and innovate policy approaches, if countries aim at scaling up and broadening the many good examples of innovative suppliers. By Dr. Michiko Iizuka, Prof. Carlo Pietrobelli and PhD fellow Fernando Vargas.
‘Public employment decline in developing countries in the 21st century‘ revisits the question of whether globalisation increases or decreases the size of government (“compensation” versus “efficiency” hypothesis). The debate is re-examined with innovative bureaucracy and globalisation indicators using panel data for the unexplored period 2000–2016. Robust evidence suggests that global competition reduces public employment. By Prof. Klaus F. Zimmermann et al.
‘Understanding school-to-work transitions‘ contains seven articles dealing with relevant elements of the challenges that school-to-work transition regimes are facing currently. The first three articles study the direct passage between school and work. The other four articles deal with the transition from university to work. The papers are expected to be the start of a new debate about the persistent pressure to reduce youth unemployment relative to adult unemployment that is typically twice as high in many countries. By Prof. Klaus F. Zimmermann et al.
‘Competition for infrastructure among regions in Turkey‘ aims to shed light, through econometric methods, on how the socioeconomic attributes of regional economies play a role in the allocation of the investments in transportation and communication. The authors observe that regional competition is an important effect among other factors. By Dr. Mehmet Guney Celbis, Prof. Joan Muysken et al.
‘Climate shocks, coping responses and gender gap in human development‘ examines the impact of drought on child health and schooling outcomes and investigates the contemporaneous relationship between these two main building blocks of human capital. Findings from within-child variation estimators reveal that drought has a detrimental impact on the highest grade completed of female children. The paper shows that the negative effect of drought on a female child’s completed years of formal schooling is channeled, albeit not entirely, through ill health. It discusses how gender-responsive policy design and implementation may help alleviate gender inequality in human development in the face of climate change. By PhD fellow Kaleab Haile, Dr. Nyasha Tirivayi and Prof. Eleonora Nillesen.
‘Measuring the creation and adoption of new technologies using trade and patent data‘ seeks to identify trade (i.e. imports and exports) and inventions (patents) in 4IR technologies, as a means of identifying the development, production and use of such technologies globally. The paper provides information on those countries which are leading the technology race, those which are not leading but still following, and those which are being left behind. To achieve this, the paper uses detailed patent data to identify the technology leaders in the fourth industrial revolution, and trade data to identify the producers and users of these technologies. The paper subsequently relates the use of these technologies to indicators of the level of industrial development. By Prof. Neil Foster-McGregor, Dr. Önder Nomaler and Prof. Bart Verspagen.
‘Greentech homophily and path dependence in a large patent citation network‘ proposes a method to identify the main technological trends in a very large (i.e., universal) patent citation network comprising all patented technologies. The paper shows that a model taking into account both homophily and path dependence predicts well the number of Green patents on technological trajectories, and the number of clusters of Green patents on technological trajectories. By Dr. Önder Nomaler and Prof. Bart Verspagen.
‘Evidence of the determinants of migration in the EU’ seeks to build a better understanding of what drives contemporary migration flows, and of the factors shaping the migration decisions of individuals within the EU. The main finding of the study is that there is rarely one clear “determinant” of an individual’s intra-EU migration decision. The authors find that the considerations that shape intra-EU mobility are highly diverse and challenge the conventional understandings of migration within the EU28 as largely being determined by work and family. The research suggests that specific factors relating to educational and career development opportunities, the desire for new experiences and challenges, preferences for particular cultures, lifestyles, political systems and social norms, and the pursuit of self-knowledge, are highly relevant in many intra-EU migrants’ mobility decisions. By Talitha Dubow, Sarah Roeder, Dr. Katrin Marchand and Prof. Melissa Siegel.
‘Systemising social innovation initiatives and their regional context in Europe‘ aims to gather insights in the economic outcomes of social innovation and argues that social innovation can be seen as an investment, rather than a cost. The results of the study support the idea that social innovation generates economic as well as complementary social benefits. The authors identify four types of regional systems of social innovation, which explain why regions as different contexts induce different social innovation initiatives and economic outcomes. By Dr. René Wintjes, Nordine Es-Sadki and Ad Notten.
‘Structural transformation in general equilibrium‘ revises the main mechanisms at work in generating structural change in a multi-sector environment. Next, the paper addresses the issue of measurement of these models when comparing them to the data. It then discusses how GDP in the model should be measured to provide a statistic that is comparable with the data in national accounts. The last part of the paper is devoted to showing how structural transformation from manufacturing to services, when appropriately compared to the data, generates a decline in GDP growth and volatility along the growth path of an economy. By Dr. Alessio Moro and Carlo Valdes.
‘Community currency programmes as a tool for sustainable development: The cases of Mombasa and Nairobi Counties, Kenya’ investigates if community currency (CC) programmes have an impact on lifestyle outcomes. This article shows a positive and significant impact of CCs on the following two lifestyle outcomes: helping the environment and gifting in professional services and goods. This article contributes to the academic literature by answering to the need of quantitative evidence of the impact of CCs and by evidencing how these CCs can have a more holistic impact than conventional development paradigms. By Dr. Pui-hang Wong and Dr. Serdar Turkeli.
‘Costing of a package of family-friendly transfers and services to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment: An introduction to the calculations and results‘ presents a costing analysis for a set of family-friendly services and transfers: income protection for children, people of working age, and older persons; universal health coverage; and early childhood care and education and long-term care services. The social protection and care policies that are included in the costing have enormous significance for families and broader society, and their implementation would have particularly important impacts for women, since they are over-represented among those without income security, they face specific life course contingencies, and they take on a highly disproportionate share of unpaid care work. The comparative advantage of the present study is that it looks at an integrated package of family-friendly services and transfers and estimates the costs for a large sample of countries (151 to 166, depending on the scenario). The costing shows that such a package is affordable in many countries. Those countries that cannot finance the full package can initially afford at least some of its critical elements, such as health care or income support. By Dr. Mira Bierbaum et al.
‘Corrupt or corrupted networks? An empirical enquiry‘ interrogates through different perspectives two crucial dimensions of corruption, namely the multi-layered nature of corruption relationships and the supply side of corruption. This dissertation presents empirical evidence on corruption’s persistence, corruption proclivities and the supply of corruption. It highlight the role of social capital- norms, trust and networks- in cross-country analyses. By Dr. Davina Osei.
‘Beyond static inequality: Public policies and economic mobility in Thailand’ aims to understand economic mobility in the context of a developing economy and the role that social protection programmes have played in promoting mobility. It does so by examining the extent and pattern of intragenerational income mobility, and by identifying factors driving mobility based on longitudinal data from Thailand. The study establishes causality linking participation in certain social protection programmes which, in theory, have the potential to overcome mobility constraints including vocational training, microcredit and social pension, and changes in mobility outcomes by means of various impact evaluation methods. The results suggest that only the social pension programme is found to impact beneficiaries along the outcome dimensions considered. The vocational training and the microcredit programme do not play a role in fostering mobility. The thesis concludes that only having social protection programmes in place does not necessarily remove binding constraints to upward mobility. Programme design and details of implementation matter. By Dr. Patima Chongcharoentanawat.
‘Livelihood vulnerability to shocks, behaviour and investment in education: Essays in behavioural development economics’ provides theoretical analysis and empirical evidence on the psychological and social drivers of economic behaviour and decision making. The dissertation further applies the theoretical insights to explain economic decisions in developing countries. By Dr. Jemal Adem.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
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