Destructive creation defines the digital age. But when it comes to frontier technologies like biotech and infotech what should be the priority: influencing policy, reforming institutions, or supporting citizens? Meanwhile, migrants in Greece often hold strong preferences for certain destination countries. How much should policymakers incorporate migrant preferences in (re)distribution schemes? And the Great Recession of 2008 was a crisis for many countries, including Ireland. But how far did financial strains impact the health of citizens across the country?
These are just a few of the questions tackled by our researchers in July and August 2018 — in two book chapters, two journal articles, and one policy brief among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
‘A spurious relationship? Assisted voluntary return and development‘ is a chapter in the book ‘The Routledge Handbook of the Politics of Migration in Europe‘. Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) Programmes are an important part of migration management policies in most countries in Europe. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) defines AVR as: “[T]he administrative, logistical and financial support provided to migrants unable or unwilling to remain in the host country who volunteer to return to their countries of origin and, where possible, supported with reintegration measures.” Each chapter in The Routledge Handbook of the Politics of Migration in Europe reviews the state-of-the-art on a given topic or question in Europe as a continent while highlighting any dimensions in scholarly debates that are uniquely European. Thematically organised, it permits analytically fruitful comparisons across various geographical entities within Europe and broadens the focus on European immigration politics and policies beyond the traditional limitations of Western European, immigrant-receiving societies. By Dr. Katherine Kuschminder.
Prof. Luc Soete contributed a chapter in the publication ‘Destructive creation. Explaining the productivity paradox in the digital age‘ edited by Max Neufeind, Jacqueline O’Reilly, and Florian Ranft. The book discusses the important policy challenges arising from the fourth industrial revolution and the transformation of work as a result of the introduction of digital technology at work. The authors discuss the effects of automation, platform business models, stagnating productivity, increasing regional disparities, and rising levels of inequality within and between countries. The narrative is not only about what policymakers need to do, but also about reforming established organisations and institutions, understanding new emerging players and supporting disaffected citizens in how the effects of these changes are going to affect their lives.
‘Emergent structures in faculty hiring networks, and the effects of mobility on academic performance‘ examines the South African job market for PhD graduates. In this article, the authors ask how movements between universities of different prestige from PhD to first job correlates with academic performance. Using data of South African scholars from 1970 to 2012, they find that those who make large movements in terms of prestige have lower research ratings than those who do not. Further, looking only those with large prestige movements, those with higher prestige PhDs or first jobs have higher research ratings throughout their careers. By Prof. Robin Cowan and PhD fellow Giulia Rossello.
‘Trade, global value and upgrading: What, when and how?‘ explains how successful innovation systems interact with trade and global value chains (GVC) participation to foster learning and technological upgrading. The article shows that, while some countries manage to trade and export across a large number of technological export categories, many remain embedded in the export of low technology goods with little movement technologically. The analysis looks at why this is the case and what factors account for how firms are able to leverage trade to learn and upgrade in some instances, but not all. The results show that the ability to technologically diversify across export categories is linked to stronger innovation systems, as measured by national capability indicators, such as public R&D investments, scientific publications, intellectual property payments and patents by residents. The results also confirm the rise of several outperforming countries, the emerging economies. The authors conclude that, in successful, outperforming countries, firms rely on several attributes of the innovation system to leverage knowledge flows within and outside of GVCs to build export capacity and diversify horizontally into new GVCs. By Dr. Padmashree Gehl Sampath and Dr. Bertha Vallejo.
‘Mapping and study of the Jordanian Diaspora in Germany‘ provides a comprehensive overview of the Jordanian migrant organisations, associations, and initiatives based in Germany. The study examines the structures, activities, and agendas of these organisations in a range of areas (e.g. politics, business, science, academia, culture) and seeks to identify potential for cooperation between the Jordanian diaspora organisations and GIZ. The authors recommend more cooperation with the GIZ (and PME more specifically) as well as more support for the growing potential for development-related activities of the Jordanian diaspora in Germany. Particularly, initiatives of PME should focus on enabling the engagement of Jordanian diaspora organisations and active individuals through capacity-building initiatives and financial support as well as consider the untapped potential among Jordanian entrepreneurs and professional organisations. More generally, increased efforts should be made to better statistically understand the characteristics (e.g. size, geographical distribution, socio-economic and -demographic characteristics) of the Jordanian diaspora in Germany. In addition to this, more involvement of women and youth should be encouraged to further diversify the nature of diaspora engagement. By Dr. Zina Nimeh, Research officer Katharina Koch and PhD fellow Nora Jasmin Ragab.
‘Mapping and study of the Palestinian Diaspora in Germany‘ provides a comprehensive overview of the Palestinian migrant organisations, associations, and initiatives based in Germany. The study examines the structures, activities, and agendas of these organisations in a range of areas (e.g. politics, business, science, academia, culture) and identifies potential for cooperation between the Palestinian diaspora organisations and GIZ. The authors recommend that initiatives of PME should focus on enabling the engagement of Palestinian diaspora organisations and active individuals through capacity-building initiatives and financial support, recognising untapped potential among Palestinian entrepreneurs and professional organisations as well as facilitating access to the Palestinian Territories. More generally, there should be increased efforts made to better statistically understand the characteristics (e.g. size, geographical distribution, socio-economic background) of the Palestinian diaspora in Germany. The politicised nature of the Palestinian diaspora and its engagement should also be recognised in a way that creates a space for diverse discussions and long-term cooperation. In addition to this, the involvement of women and youth should be encouraged to further diversify the nature of diaspora engagement. By Research officer Katharina Koch and PhD fellow Nora Jasmin Ragab.
‘Deciding which road to take: Insights into how migrants and refugees in Greece plan onward movement‘ suggests that the latest idea for distributing asylum seekers around the European Union through a system of ‘regional disembarkation platforms’ may have a better chance of success if policymakers acknowledge that new arrivals often hold strong preferences for certain destinations and that these views may be difficult to change. The policy brief draws on a survey and interviews with more than 500 refugees and other migrants in Greece, discovering that only about one-third had changed their minds about the countries in which they wanted to settle. Findings suggest that policymakers should incorporate the preferences of migrants into the process of destination selection and invest much more in local integration if they hope to redirect asylum seekers to destinations other than those they originally had in mind. By Dr. Katherine Kuschminder.
‘Price opinion data in subsidised economies: Empirical evidence from Iraq‘ explores the adequacy of market price opinions of subsidised food commodities using data from Iraq. The evidence presented in this paper suggests that price opinions of subsidised food commodities are influenced by the importance of the subsidy in the household economy – a reflection of household welfare levels and preferences. This leads to the conclusion that price opinion data for subsidised goods distorts the estimated transfer value of the Public Distribution System (PDS) food subsidy and biases welfare analysis, particularly affecting the ability to monitor trends over time. By Dr. Tareq Abu-El-Haj, Prof. Franziska Gassmann and Prof. Cathal O’Donoghue.
‘The race for an artificial general intelligence: Implications for public policy‘ starts from the idea that an arms race for an artificial general intelligence (AGI) would be detrimental for and even pose an existential threat to humanity if it results in an unfriendly AGI. This paper develops an all-pay contest model to derive implications for public policy to avoid such an outcome. Based on their findings, the authors recommend that the danger of an unfriendly AGI can be reduced by taxing AI and by using public procurement. This would reduce the pay-off of contestants, raise the amount of R&D needed to compete, and coordinate and incentivise co-operation, all outcomes that will help alleviate the control and political problems in AI. Future research is needed to elaborate the design of systems of public procurement of AI innovation and for appropriately adjusting the legal frameworks underpinning high-tech innovation, in particular dealing with patents created by AI. By Prof. Wim Naudé et al.
‘A guide for the evaluation of programs of human capital training for science, technology and innovation‘ addresses specific challenges that arise when doing impact evaluations of Training and Human Capital programmes in Science Technology and Innovation (STI). The paper discusses their logic, the advantages and drawbacks of the different sources of information, the strategies which may be appropriate for evaluation, and the suitability of applying the different experimental and quasi‐experimental available methods. For each technique, the guide highlight the characteristics and assumptions, the strengths and weaknesses, and the practical issues related to their application to programmes of human capital training for STI. By PhD fellow Ezequiel Tacsir et al.
‘Informal sector innovation in Ghana: Data set and descriptive analysis‘ presents descriptive statistics from survey data collected in 2016, on the types of innovations informal enterprises adopt and/or adapt in urban Ghana (Accra and Tema). The analysis reveals that informal enterprises do innovate. Innovations, as found in formal enterprises as well, are not big swings, that is, not radical but incremental, and are found to occur over several years. These suggest that incremental innovations, notwithstanding, are important to the survival of sampled informal enterprises. By Dr. Elvis Avenyo.
‘The Eurasian customs union and the economic geography of Belarus: A panel convergence approach‘ presents novel research on the economic geography of Belarus. The 118 regions of Belarus are examined in relation to the Eurasian Customs Union (EACU) through the period 2005-2014. Spatial clusters and outliers are identified and compared across the periods prior and after the establishment of the EACU. The paper shows that EACU membership corresponds to a slowdown in the process of regional economic convergence in Belarus, and intensified economic competition with a geographical dimension among regions. The authors also observe that urban regions have benefited more from the EACU than less urbanised areas. By Dr. Mehmet Guney Celbis, Dr. Pui-hang Wong and Tatjana Guznajeva.
‘The Great Recession, financial strain and self-assessed health in Ireland‘ studies the effects of the 2008 economic crisis on general health in one of the most severely affected EU economies – Ireland. The paper examines the relationship between compositional changes in demographic and socio-economic factors, such as education, income, and financial strain, and changes in the prevalence of poor self-assessed health over a 5-year period (2008-2013). Results show that the increased financial strain explained the largest part of the increase in poor health in the Irish population and different sub-groups. By PhD fellow Gintare Mazeikaite, Prof. Cathal O’Donoghue and Dr. Denisa Maria Sologon.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
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