Is innovation everywhere and can it be accurately measured? A new book inspired by a new internationally agreed definition of innovation seeks to improve policy, monitoring and evaluation by studying every sector in the economy.
Does religion promote environmentalism? A new cross-country study finds that religion promotes individuals’ willingness to contribute money while dampening protests against environmental protection — and these findings are most pronounced in low-income countries.
Do the Sustainable Development Goals manage to capture the complexity of migration? What narratives are used to represent migration, moving from the MDGs to the SDGs? A new handbook looks at migration from various key angles via 60 expert contributors.
These are just a few of the questions tackled by our researchers in July and August 2020 — in two books, three journal articles, and 10 working papers, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
‘Measuring innovation everywhere: The challenge of better policy, monitoring, evaluation and learning‘ seeks to measure innovation, not just in the business sector but in every sector of the economy, using, for the first time, an internationally agreed general definition of innovation. The resulting indicators can be used to inform policy development, and offer a better understanding of the impact of the innovation policy of governments, the strategy of businesses and the practice of households, in a more digital economy. Innovation is a systems phenomenon and systems provide a structure throughout the book. By Prof. Fred Gault.
The ‘Routledge Handbook of Migration and Development’, edited by Prof. Ronald Skeldon and Dr. Tanja Bastia, provides an interdisciplinary, agenda-setting survey of the fields of migration and development. The publication brings together over 60 expert contributors from around the world. Prof. Hein de Haas wrote the chapter ‘Paradoxes of migration and development’, Prof. Ronald Skeldon discussed the topic of ‘Skilled migration’, Prof. Melissa Siegel authored a chapter titled ‘Migration and health’, and PhD Candidate Elaine McGregor wrote the chapter ‘Migration, the MDGs, and SDGs: Context and complexity’. Given the increasing importance of migration in both international development and current affairs, the Handbook will be of interest both to policymakers, students and researchers of different disciplines.
‘Mapping innovation potential for place-based innovation policies‘ is a chapter in the book ‘Quantitative methods for place-based innovation policy: Measuring the growth potential of regions’. Building on the experience of more than one hundred innovation strategies for smart specialisation, this book uncovers insights into their recent implementation by regional and national governments in the European Union. Although designed to boost the competitiveness of Europe and its regions, chapters analyse why the implementation of this policy model was much more complicated than expected. The book explores the importance of place-based innovation policy instead of a one-size-fits-all variety and provides new reflections on the conceptual approaches for the identification of innovation priorities, the data required, the methods through which the data can be turned into useful information and the mapping of the information available. By Dr. Hugo Hollanders et al.
‘Fostering Sustainable Development Goals through an integrated approach‘ explores how science, technology, and innovation (STI) solutions and policies can be applied towards national and international sustainable development goals (SDGs). The chapter highlights findings across the natural and social sciences from leading researchers representing over 40 institutions and more than 30 developed and developing countries around the world and offers specific guidelines for implementing STI practices towards meeting SDGs across environmental, health, and agricultural sectors through case studies and examples. It provides answers for how to integrate various stakeholder views on STI solutions that support accountability and transparency in decision-making in developing countries. By Prof. René Kemp, Dr. Serdar Turkeli, et al.
‘Natural resource abundance: A hidden drag on Africa’s development?‘ is a chapter in The Palgrave Handbook of African Political Economy. The handbook constitutes a specialist single compendium that analyses African political economy in its theoretical, historical and policy dimensions. Chapters in the book discuss how domestic and international political-economic forces have shaped and continue to shape development outcomes on the continent. Contributors also provoke new thinking on theories and policies to better position the continent’s economy to be a critical global force. By Dr. Alexis Habiyaremye.
‘Migration, the MDGs, and SDGs’ is a book chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Migration and Development. By situating the inclusion of migration in the SDGs into the broader context of the formulation and acceptance of global goals on development and migration’s journey as a global policy issue, this chapter offers a brief commentary of the narrative strategies underpinning migration’s inclusion in the SDGs. By PhD fellow Elaine McGregor.
‘Evaluation of the “Asserting People’s Habitat Rights at all Levels” global project of the Habitat International Coalition (HIC)- Evaluated period: 2014 – 2019′ provides an overview of HIC’s work at a glance, with a positive assessment that strengthens HIC’s work for the upcoming years. The report describes, in the first chapter, the project as planned referring to project target groups, project objectives and its intervention logic, HIC’s structure and management, and the nature of cooperation with MISEREOR and the other donors. The second chapter details the evaluation process and data collection methods employed, which mainly included documental review, an online survey with HIC Members conducted between September and October 2019, and key informants interviews. In the third chapter, the main results of data collection and evaluation are explored, including the description of main project action lines, results of the survey and of consultations with HIC structures and key informants. In chapter 4 the collected information is assessed against the key evaluation questions and project’s contribution to the five DAC criteria of relevance, effectiveness, impact, efficiency and sustainability are verified. Finally, in chapter 5, conclusions and recommendations are made for the current and further implementation periods. By Dr. Samia Nour et al.
Measuring policy coherence for migration and development – A new set of tested tools is a report of the Global Knowledge Partnerships on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) in collaboration with OECD and UNDP. The Thematic Working Group on Policy and Institutional Coherence of the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) created two comprehensive dashboards of indicators to measure policy coherence for migration and development (PCMD). By helping policymakers identify critical policy areas and institutional mechanisms for fostering PCMD, the dashboards are a useful tool to better integrate migration into countries’ strategies for realising the SDGs and implementing the commitments of the Global Compact on Migration, as well as the Global Compact for Refugees. By PhD fellow Elaine McGregor et al.
‘European Panorama of Clusters and Industrial Change 2020: Performance of strong clusters across 51 sectors and the role of firm size in driving specialisation’ presents an overview of how clusters contribute to the competitiveness of the European economy. It analyses cluster strength across 51 exporting industry sectors in Europe and identifies 2,950 regional industrial clusters. The report introduces a new, further refined methodology to distinguish strong clusters according to performance levels. The report also looks into the role of firm size in explaining cluster strength. Compared to other major international economies, where large firms are more dominant, Europe’s specialisation is driven by both large firms and SMEs equally. This result underlines the importance of SMEs for the European economy. By Dr. Hugo Hollanders and researcher Iris Merkelbach.
The new ‘Smart Guide to cluster policy monitoring and evaluation’ develops a common framework, reviews indicators, methodological approaches and tools. The guide also provides numerous concrete good practice cases from eight different European countries to illustrate proposed options for monitoring and evaluating policies, programmes, initiatives as well as cluster organisations and cluster partnerships. It highlights good practices, such as ensuring stakeholders’ involvement and following participatory approaches, and concludes with six do’s and dont’s for designing an effective cluster policy monitoring and evaluation systems. By Dr. René Wintjes et al.
The ‘European Innovation Scoreboard 2020′ reveals that the EU’s innovation performance continues to increase at a steady pace. Further overall improvement is expected in the short-term, but progress remains uneven within the EU. The EIS 2020 report is the first edition published since the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, and all results for the EU are for the current 27 Member States. The annual European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) provides a comparative assessment of the research and innovation performance of EU Member States and selected third countries, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of their research and innovation systems. It helps countries assess areas in which they need to concentrate their efforts in order to boost their innovation performance. By Dr. Hugo Hollanders, Dr. N. Es-Sadki, researchers Iris Merkelbach and Aishe Khalilova.
‘Does religion promote pro-environmental behaviour? A cross-country investigation’ investigates the influence of multiple indicators of religion on pro-environmental behaviour and attitudes, and whether its effect varies across different income categories of countries. The results of the study show that religion induces pro-environmental behaviour. Religion promotes individuals’ willingness to contribute money and dampens individuals’ protest against contributing to environmental protection. Similarly, religion has a positive effect on ecological donation and participation in the environmental demonstration. Furthermore, the results of this study indicate that the effects of some of the religious indicators on stated willingness to contribute for environmental protection are more pronounced in low-income countries than countries in high-income categories. These results highlight the importance of religion on environmental protection and suggest that integrating religion into environmental policies and programmes may yield better environmental outcomes. PhD fellow Halefom Nigus et al.
‘Mapping technological trajectories and exploring knowledge sources: A case study of 3D printing technologies’ maps the trajectory of technological development and explores the contribution of various knowledge sources from both geographical and technological perspectives. The study shows that there was a technology lock-in stage in 3D printing technologies between 1998 and the early 2000s. A tipping point emerged around 2008, after which more diversified technological branches started to develop. The U.S. and Japan were the pioneer countries to develop core 3DP technologies. China and South Korea joined the movement by developing 3D printing technologies. There have been diversified knowledge contributions from different countries and different technological fields. By Dr. Lili Wang et al.
‘Money to move: The effect on researchers of an international mobility grant’ studies the effect of an international mobility grant on researches. The article finds that the grant effectively supports periods of research abroad that often extend beyond the duration of the grant, without increasing the probability of permanent migration. Awarded researchers increase their output quality, although the effect on output quantity and careers is not significant. Additional evidence suggests that financing international mobility likely affects output quality by reducing the cost of exploring new collaboration opportunities and research topics: awarded applicants are more likely to collaborate with new coauthors of higher, on average, scientific quality and rely less on their previous own research results. Moreover, the grants mainly benefit researchers receiving a mobility grant for the first time. By Dr. Fabiana Visentin et al.
‘Optimal social distancing in SIR based macroeconomic models’ introduces voluntary social distancing to the canonical epidemiology model, integrated into a conventional macroeconomic model. The model is extended to include treatment, vaccination, and government-enforced lockdown. Infection-averse individuals face a trade-off between a costly social distancing and the risk of getting infected and losing next-period labour income. The study finds an individual’s social distancing is proportional to the welfare loss she incurs when moving to the infected compartment. It increases in the individual’s psychological discount factor but decreases in the probability of receiving a vaccination. Quantitatively, a laissez-faire social distancing flattens the infection curve that minimizes the economic damage of the epidemic. A government-enforced social distancing is more effective in flattening the infection curve but has a detrimental effect on the economy. By Dr. Yoseph Yilma Getachew.
‘Food security and agricultural development in Sudan: The case of Kassala State’ discusses the relationship between agricultural development and food security, determinants of supply of and demand for food and determinants of food insecurity in Kassala State in Sudan. The major policy implication from this study is that increased household incomes and enhancing family own production of food are important for eliminating food insecurity. The author recommends policies that may increase household incomes and enhance smallholders’ own production of food. Relevant policy instruments may be increased agricultural land ownership, increasing the size of cultivated land for smallholders, diversification of agricultural food crops, improvement of irrigation systems, enhancing female participation in agricultural activities and food security, improvement of agricultural services, mainly agricultural services related to technology, improving access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation systems and generally improved infrastructure which may help in access to food. By Dr. Samia Nour.
‘Self-selection in physical and mental health among older intra-European migrants’ studies both the physical and mental dimensions of health among European-born emigrants over 50, who originate from seven European countries and now live elsewhere in Europe. The study finds that overall, living abroad has some favourable effects on the health of older emigrants. The economic similarity of countries and the free intra-European mobility mitigate the need for initial self-selection in health and facilitate the migration experience abroad. By Prof. Amelie Constant et al.
‘Fast-tracking the SADC integration agenda to unlock regional collaboration gains along growth corridors in Southern Africa’ analyses how the development of regional growth corridors and the deepening of SADC integration could help to ease existing connectivity bottlenecks and unlock the dynamic gains of closer intra-regional collaboration for shared growth. The paper examines the structural challenges to the emergence of dynamic growth corridors and probes the potential for overcoming them through territorial collaboration between metropolitan clusters and rural areas connected by transport corridors. The development of growth corridors requires the adoption of new production techniques and the application of concomitant skills and know-how. This study also explores the absorptive capacity requirements for structural transformation and surveys existing facilities and incentives for technological capability building. By Dr. Alexis Habiyaremye.
‘Productive efficiency, technological change and catch-up within Africa’ studies technological change and technological catch-up within African by considering catch-up with respect to an African technology leader. The paper shows that Botswana and Mauritius are the only two countries in Africa which have converged to the productivity level as well as the efficiency level of the frontier. This successful convergence is driven more by efficiency catch-up and less by technological change. The study explores the special role of efficiency catch-up by decomposing it into within sector convergence, between sector convergence and initial specialisation. The results highlight the special role of structural change in catch-up. This paper contributes to recent evidence suggesting that countries can climb up the income ladder at a faster rate through a two-pronged transformation – i.e. structural change and technological catch-up. By PhD fellows Emmanuel Buadi Mensah and Solomon Owusu, and Prof. Neil Foster-McGregor.
‘Supply and demand in Kaldorian growth models: a proposal for dynamic adjustment’ analyses the dynamic adjustment of supply and demand in Kaldorian growth models. The paper discusses how the growth rate of a country given by the demand constraints may adjust towards the growth rate given by the supply-side (and vice-versa), presenting the necessary conditions for this adjustment. The main conclusion is that, for a monopolistic economy, where firms invest to maintain a constant level of capital utilisation, there are no capital constraints and hence the degree of capacity utilisation is not affected by this adjustment. Nevertheless, depending on specific conditions, an economy may face labour constraints, and thus an adjustment mechanism is necessary. The authors propose reconciliation between the Palley-Setterfield and the McCombie approaches, and present a model with a labour market adjustment in which both types of adjustments represent extreme cases, discussing the existence and the characteristics of intermediate cases. By Dr. Danilo Spinola et al.
‘International student mobility decision-making in a European context’ contributes to existing theoretical and empirical understandings of international student mobility (ISM) decision‐making. The paper highlight the ways in which individual decisions to study abroad do not necessarily align with a single decision‐making model but are rather often determined by multiple and interacting considerations. The findings further existing knowledge on the ways in which international student decision‐making relate to the social, cultural, economic and political environments in which these decisions are made; and how international student decision‐making relates to the student’s broader and evolving life aspirations. By researcher Talitha Dubow, Dr. Katrin Marchand and Prof. Melissa Siegel.
‘Economic preferences across generations and family clusters: A large-scale experiment’ presents a holistic view of how economic preferences are related within families. Drawing from an experiment from rural Bangladesh, it finds a large degree of intergenerational persistence of economic preferences. Both mothers’ and fathers’ risk, time and social preferences are significantly (and largely to the same degree) positively correlated with their children’s economic preferences, even when controlling for personality traits and socio-economic background data. The paper discusses possible transmission channels for these relationships within families and finds indications that there is more than pure genetics at work. Moving beyond an individual-level analysis, the authors are the first to classify a whole family into one of two clusters, with either relatively patient, risk-tolerant and pro-social members or relatively impatient, risk-averse and spiteful members. Socio-economic background variables correlate with the cluster to which a family belongs to. By Prof. Klaus F. Zimmermann et al.
‘Segmented paths of welfare assimilation’ investigates the extent to which first-generation immigrants in the Netherlands undergo segmented paths of welfare assimilation and its underlying mechanism. The paper shows that, while mainstream assimilation is the dominant trend, it is not a common path for all. The risk of persistent marginalisation exists and concentrates among first-generation immigrants characterised by structural and human capital disadvantages, despite their aspiration to integrate and notable degrees of upward mobilities. By PhD fellow Yip Ching Yu and Dr. Zina Nimeh.
‘Towards a new index of mobile money inclusion and the role of the regulatory environment’ seeks to develop a comprehensive measure to monitor and evaluate inclusive financial systems across the globe. The paper combines macro-level data from the Financial Access Survey of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank’s Global Findex database to construct novel indices of financial inclusion. The authors find that whereas developed countries continue to lead in banking inclusion, developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa are at the frontiers of mobile money inclusion. Also, they find evidence suggesting that the regulatory environment matters for financial inclusion. By PhD fellow Godsway Tetteh, Dr. Micheline Goedhuys, Dr. Maty Konte and Prof. Pierre Mohnen.
‘Agricultural development and food security in Sudan as seen from Kassala State‘ uses data from Kassala State to assess the close link between agricultural development and food security, and investigates factors and policies that can strengthen agricultural development, thereby increasing food security in Sudan. This policy brief recommends policies that target households’ incomes, smallholders’ own production of food, diversify agricultural food crops, improve irrigation systems, improve agricultural services, increase agricultural productivity through technology adoption, and long-term human capital development. By Dr. Samia Nour et al.
‘Food insecurity in Sudan as seen from Kassala State‘ discusses the incidence of food insecurity, explores families’ survival strategies, and recommends measures that may combat food insecurity in Kassala State in Sudan. This policy brief identifies the use of direct income transfers and other social safety nets, increasing smallholders’ farm size, improving technology, securing access to credit, and providing better infrastructure such as roads and domestic water supply as important measures to combat food insecurity. It recommends improving agricultural infrastructure, development of rural infrastructure, services, and facilities, and providing farmers with new farm technologies as important measures to increase food production. By Dr. Samia Nour et al.
‘Shock-sensitive social protection in Malawi’ explores potential designs for the SCTP to provide seasonally adjusted basic transfer values in Malawi. This policy brief summarises the findings and recommendations of the report ‘Exploring options for improved effectiveness of Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP) through stabilising purchasing power to eliminate seasonal effects on consumption’. The report aimed at providing policy advice based on SCTP beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries’ perceptions on how to adapt regular programming to reduce households’ sensitivity to shocks during the lean season. The policy brief recommends a monthly cash addition pegged at maize prices as a suitable policy option. By Prof. Franziska Gassmann and researchers Alex Hunns and Francesco Iacoella.
‘Essays on rural household decision-making under climate risk’ provides a broader understanding of the changes in rural household decision-making and behavioural responses, which determine their immediate and future income-generating capacities, in response to climate shocks and climate risk management strategies. The three empirical chapters of the dissertation examine the impact pathways in the climate risk-welfare nexus and identify policy-related drivers for adoption of climate-smart agricultural innovations and high-risk high-return agricultural technologies. The dissertation sheds light on policy options to enhance rural households’ capacity to manage climate shocks without sacrificing their investments in human, physical and natural capital. By Dr. Kaleab Haile.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.