Climate change is already impacting water resources across Africa. But what should African policymakers prioritise: water security or societal challenges linked to water? And how much influence should local communities and the private sector have on decision-making? A new article takes a social innovation perspective in a bid to reinforce the knowledge base for policymaking.
The service sector plays a growing role in economies worldwide, despite claims of stagnation. But what is the relationship between manufacturing and services, especially in the Global South? And can the two sectors ever be truly complementary? A new paper investigates the uneven rise of the service sector, while also weighing the prospects for industrialisation across Africa.
These are just a couple of questions tackled by our researchers in December 2020 — in one UNICEF report, two journal articles, and four working papers, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
‘Bilateral trade agreements and trade finance: evidence from Turkey’ investigates the impact of trade integration on payment choice in international transactions. Using industry-level trade finance data from Turkey, the authors show that the removal of trade barriers by bilateral free trade agreements leads to more exporter-financed transactions. This implies that lowering trade barriers contributes to reducing risk, which leads to more trade finance by exporters. This study represents the first attempt to analyse the impact of trade integration on trade finance. By Dr. Alexis Habiyaremye et al.
‘Strengthening the knowledge base to face the impacts of climate change on water resources in Africa: A social innovation perspective’ aims to provide subject-specific insights on water-related challenges in Africa due to climate change, and to offer methodological insights into how a knowledge base can be studied comprehensively. The research identifies a strong bias in the policy arena towards water security versus other water-related societal challenges. The authors suggest that rather than focusing on traditional policy instruments, water-related societal challenges should be addressed by joint attention to social innovation dimensions. There is a strong call from practitioners and experts towards strengthening the existing knowledge base by engaging local realities and local stakeholders and for the involvement of business and private sector actors. By Dr. Bertha Vallejo et al.
‘Supporting families and children beyond COVID-19: Social protection in high-income countries’ explores how the social and economic impact of the pandemic is likely to affect children; the initial government responses to the crisis; and how future public policies could be optimised to better support children. This report was commissioned by UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti in Florence. By Dr. Victor Cebotari et al.
‘Once the great lockdown is lifted: Post COVID-19 options for the economy’ builds on an early June 2020 assessment of the impact of the COVID‐19 crisis for Europe and considers the policy options of years 2021 and beyond. The paper recommends that governments should set priorities for sustainability, health, education, full employment and social cohesion to preserve long‐term welfare. It argues that increased taxation of wealth and of the top 10%‐income‐group is a superior strategy compared to retrenchment (budget cuts in health, education and social expenditures) and that international cooperation should be a top priority, in the areas of health and economic and monetary policy. The author sees ‘social cohesion’ as a means to support governments broadly in their re‐emergence policies. By Prof. Jo Ritzen.
‘The rise of the service sector in the global economy’ examines the implications of the rapid rise of the service sector in the economies of the world. The paper finds that perceptions of services as being stagnant and resistant to productivity do not apply to all service sub-sectors. Productivity growth in modern, dynamic, and tradable services is equal to or higher than that in manufacturing and other sectors. These service sectors are innovative and might act as new or alternative engines of growth alongside manufacturing. The manufacturing sector in Africa still generates the strongest multipliers, including to market services. However, much of the manufacturing linkages are captured by foreign countries. The authors also find robust evidence of strong inter-sectoral linkages between the service sector and manufacturing. Given the sector’s mutually reinforcing interaction with the manufacturing sector, the growing service sector could potentially play a significant complementary role in the prospects for industrialisation of Africa. By PhD fellow Solomon Owusu, Prof. Adam Szirmai and Prof. Neil Foster-McGregor.
‘Community multiculturalism and self-reported immigrant crime: Testing three theoretical mechanisms’ aims to understand the contextual variation in crime among immigrants and their native-born descendants. The paper examines whether municipal variation in self-reported crimes among Turkish- and Moroccan-Dutch men living in 35 representative Dutch cities, including the four largest cities, is associated with municipal variation in multicultural attitudes, or ‘community multiculturalism’, among the native-Dutch. The authors propose, and test, a mechanism-based theoretical model that links Berry’s acculturation theory to general strain theory, social bonding theory, and collective efficacy theory. Evidence is found for a protective effect of community multiculturalism for immigrant crime, which is mostly explained by collective efficacy theory with somewhat weaker evidence for general strain theory and social bonding theory. The paper discusses implications for the discussion on the (dis)advantages of multiculturalism, and suggests various avenues for further inquiry into immigrants’ ‘context of reception’, and how the acculturation attitudes among established groups affect social cohesion outcomes in multi-ethnic societies. By Prof. Arjen Leerkes.
‘Women, leadership and violent extremism: A potential security risk?’ examines women’s role in extremist organisations, and the question of their tactical leadership in these settings. Without any specific focus on particular extremist movements or ideologies and, to advance understanding and spur critical discussions around female leadership in violent extremism, the paper proposes three conceptual models. The first details key drivers that plausibly facilitate the emergence of female extremist leaders. The second discusses six possible female leadership styles and the third touches on female spheres of influence in violent extremism. The paper provides preliminary explorative insights on a neglected topic while offering opportunities for further research. By Dr. Dorcas Mbuvi et al.
‘Essays in public economics: Multi-layer tax structure and implications‘ aims at providing a better understanding of the assignment of taxing responsibilities across government layers and across countries and bringing empirical evidence regarding the implications of such arrangements. The dissertation brings insights into the challenges and opportunities embedded in the multi-layer structure of tax institutions and establishes the relevance of such design in the scholarly debate on private sector growth, tax compliance, revenue mobilisation and the becoming of institutions, especially in emerging and developing economies. By Dr. Rose Camille Vincent.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
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