Are farmers willing to accept payments for ecosystem services? If so, what should be the mode and timing of payments? A new article examines the case of climate-smart agroforestry in Ethiopia.
What is the best blend of policies to promote innovation among SMEs in traditional industries? A new article based on data from 300 SMEs in seven European regions says policymakers should promote variety in firms’ innovation efforts and capabilities.
What’s the real background to the oil curse? A new paper suggests that the so-called “natural resource curse” originates not in “simply having” natural resources but as a result of chronic mismanagement leading to lower productivity.
These are just a few of the questions tackled by our researchers in July and August 2019 — in 10 journal articles, five working papers and one book chapter, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
‘Farmers’ willingness to accept payments for ecosystem services on agricultural land: The case of climate-smart agroforestry in Ethiopia‘ examines smallholder farmers’ preferences for the uptake of contractual climate-smart agroforestry, which yields economic and ecosystem benefits. The results show that farmers derive higher utility from up-front payments. Farmers also strongly prefer food as the mode of payment than cash. Moreover, low numbers of mandatory planted trees and short-term contracts are found to be essential attributes that positively affect farmers’ decisions to take-up a contractual arrangement to grow trees on their agricultural land. The study’s findings shed light on the considerations that must be accounted for when designing and implementing environmental policies that promote large-scale adoption of climate-smart agroforestry, which would transform smallholder agriculture into a sustainable farming system. By PhD fellow Kaleab Haile, Dr. Nyasha Tirivayi and Dr. Wondimagegn Tesfaye.
‘Promoting innovation, capabilities and impact for SMEs in traditional industries calls for variety in innovation support’ argues that in order to promote the considerable contribution to regional employment and competitiveness from SMEs in traditional manufacturing industries, a broad innovation (policy) mix seems more appropriate than a narrow focus on product innovation. Analysing data from a survey of over 300 SMEs from seven regions in Europe, the article finds that improved capabilities for product-, process-, organisational-, and marketing-innovation matter for innovative sales. Product innovation (and support used for product innovation) is less likely to generate growth, than (support used for) process innovation. Also (support used for) marketing innovations and organisational innovations are of particular importance – together with internationalisation, design and cooperation. These results suggest that policymakers should promote variety in firms’ innovation efforts and capabilities, rather than steering them all towards the same. By Dr. René Wintjes and Hugo Hollanders.
‘Who has been driving the creation of industrial employment in Argentina? An analysis of the role of innovation’ analyses the relationship between innovation and job creation in firms by examining the role played by innovation during the latest phase of expansion in Argentine manufacturing employment (2010–2012). The results show that process innovations do not influence employment growth, but that this is positively affected by product innovations. The latter also enable production efficiency to be increased by more than it can with existing products. By PhD fellow Ezequiel Tacsir et al.
‘Decomposing the complexity of value: Integration of digital transformation of education with Circular Economy transition’ addresses the pressing need for integrating the windows of opportunities that digital transformation of education opens up with circular economy education to accelerate the achievements of sustainability outcomes. The article argues that learning and creating multiple values to increase social–ecological value, complementarily to economic value, necessitate activating the complexity of value embedded in digital education and circular economy transitions with customisable niches of learning preferences and journeys of individuals and groups, within broader (and evolving) technological, organisational and institutional structures. By Dr. Serdar Turkeli et al.
‘Can Ghana afford the Sustainable Development Goal on Education?’ investigates Ghana’s capacity gaps and needs to achieve SDG 4: Quality Education. The article shows that Ghana faces more of an allocation and efficiency challenge contrary to a resource challenge to attain SDG 4. Provided the nation wants to maintain its inefficiency track, it will need to allocate an additional 0.58 per cent of its GDP to education to boost its educational performance to the level of the top-performing countries. By PhD fellow Victor Osei Kwadwo et al.
‘Effects of innovation on employment in Latin America’ examines the impact of process and product innovation on employment growth and composition in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Uruguay using micro data from innovation surveys. Results show that compensation effects are pervasive and that the introduction of new products is associated with employment growth at the firm level. By PhD fellow Ezequiel Tacsir et al.
‘Patterns of technology upgrading – the case of biotechnology in China’ is explores how countries are upgrading their technologies. The article first examines the patterns of biotechnology upgrading in China and the specialisation feature from both technological and organisational perspectives. Results shows that China has specialised in the industrial-biotech sub-field, and firms have played a key role in the development of biotech in this field. Secondly, it investigates the knowledge bases for technology upgrading. From the perspective of scientific knowledge bases, the authors find that there is a scientific backup for biotechnology; and that biotechnology goes hand in hand with bioscience. From the perspective of technical knowledge bases, by disaggregating the knowledge sources by countries, the study finds that local knowledge has become an increasingly important resource for the development of new biotechnologies in China. The increasing importance of local knowledge in the development of new biotechnologies shows that China is moving on a path from imitative to indigenous innovation. By Dr. Lili Wang et al.
‘Has the social justice approach become pervasive as a tool for fighting HIV in women? The case of Zambia’ investigates Zambian women’s interpretation and experience with the social justice approach as a tool for fighting HIV infection. Findings indicate that rather than definitively establishing the social justice approach as an incontestable good, there is more to benefit from paying attention to the diverse ways it is viewed by people it is meant to serve. By Dr. Choolwe Muzyamba.
‘Policy options for addressing immigrant student achievement gaps’ focuses on policy options for addressing immigrant student achievement gaps. The article examines data arising from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). PISA is a key tool used by policymakers to assess and compare the quality and equity of their national education systems with others. By using this data source, the authors are able to compare the educational performance of immigrant students in various countries. By Prof. Louis Volante, Prof. Melissa Siegel et al.
‘Investigating integration of edible plants in urban open spaces: Evaluation of policy challenges and successes of implementation’ evaluates the “Edible District of Friedrichshain -Kreuzberg (Der Essbare Bezirk Friedrichshain -Kreuzberg) Policy” that has been implemented in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany. Based on the analysis of this policy and interviews with local stakeholders, this article explores the challenges of effective integration of edible plants into urban open spaces by means of planning and policy support. In addition, it provides an overview of the structure and role of the Edible District of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg policy. The study shows that the concept of integrating edible plants provides a useful argument to promote and protect native edible plants and to rethink the design and use of urban open spaces. By PhD fellow Victor Osei Kwadwo et al.
‘Multiplex learning: An evidence-based approach to design policy learning networks in sub-Saharan Africa for the SDGs’ argues that countries can use knowledge spillovers to innovate in policymaking, both in design and implementation, and achieve more sustainable forms of development by participating in a multiplex policy learning network. One fundamental problem to this end is the design of such multiplex policy learning networks. This book chapter in the publication Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals offers a detailed contextualisation for multiplex policy learning in Sub-Saharan Africa with a prospective design of an international conference agenda for SDGs. By Dr. Serdar Turkeli, Dr. Pui-hang Wong and Dr. Eleni Abraham Yitbarek.
‘Sustainability transitions and innovation review: Turkey’ focuses on the state of governance, specifically the key role of institutions and the state of the national innovation system within Turkey. The country assessment finds that while eco-innovation has been increasingly present in the policy agenda in Turkey, with prolific media attention and solid policy documents. This positive trend can only continue if several issues inhibiting effective policy-making, such as the lack of long-term targets, lack of a guiding vision aimed at transformative eco-innovation, regulatory issues pertaining to legislative deficiencies, lack of coordination among governmental bodies leading to lack of coherence, and lack of accountability stemming from the absence of a systemic policy evaluation and monitoring mechanism are addressed. By Dr. Serdar Turkeli et al.
‘Semi-endogenous growth models with domestic and foreign private and public R&D linked to VECMs’ presents semi‐endogenous growth models with total‐factor productivity as functions of domestic and foreign private and public R&D. In a small country case with a Cobb‐Douglas TFP production function, foreign R&D drives steady‐state growth and the production function can be a long‐term relation in a vector‐error‐correction model. Marginal productivity conditions can be long‐ term relations for a vector‐error‐correction model if the functional form is of a Cobb‐Douglas type or CES function generalised to a VES function. In case of a VES function, steady states exist only for special cases of parameter restrictions. A working paper By Dr. Thomas Ziesemer.
‘Impact of formal climate risk transfer mechanisms on risk-aversion: Empirical evidence from rural Ethiopia’ examines the effect of smallholder farmers’ access to a formal climate risk transfer mechanism on their risk preferences. Results show that farmers who purchased a weather index-based crop insurance (WICI) are less likely to be risk averse compared with non-purchaser farmers. Similarly, non-purchasers would have attained a significant reduction in their risk-aversion if they had taken up the insurance product. The study also finds that WICI has a positive and statistically significant effect on farmers’ real-life risk-taking behaviour as exemplified by mineral fertiliser use. The implication of our findings is that formal climate risk transfer mechanisms can positively influence households’ economic decisions and outcomes, through reducing risk aversion. Therefore, they can possibly contribute to poverty alleviation and economic development within agrarian economies that are exposed to recurrent and severe climate shocks. By PhD fellow Kaleab Haile, Prof. Eleonora Nillesen and Dr. Nyasha Tirivayi.
‘On the malleability of implicit attitudes towards women empowerment: Evidence from Tunisia, Germany’ seeks to measure implicit gender attitudes and examines the malleability of these attitudes using a randomised field experiment and quasi-experimental data from Tunisia. Women who appear most conservative respond to a randomised video treatment by reducing their implicit gender bias. Also, female interviewers invite more conservative responses to the IAT, especially among the male subsample. Perceived religiosity of the interviewer affects self-reported gender attitudes, but not IAT measures, suggesting social desirability may be at work. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for the use of implicit measures in development research. By Prof. Eleonora Nillesen, Dr. Micheline Goedhuys, Dr. Aline Meysonnat et al.
‘Far from random? The role of homophily in student supervision’ studies racial and gender homophily in student supervision relationships in a context of social transformations, South Africa academia. The study develops a technique to separate choice homophily from that induced by the system. It finds clear evidence of homophily in student supervision, along racial lines in particular. Further, it finds that white (male) students have high tendency to form same-type relations, while among professors it is black (female) who display the higher frequency. By PhD fellow Giulia Rossello and Prof. Robin Cowan.
‘No evidence of an oil curse: Natural resource abundance, capital formation and productivity’ examines the relationship between labour productivity, capital formation, and natural resource extraction in countries with natural resource reserves. The results indicate that natural resources by themselves do not constitute a curse. The so-called “natural resource curse” originates not in “simply having” natural resources. It is rather a result of mismanagement of natural resource rents that leads to lower productivity in the modern sector. There is no evidence that natural resource rich countries are more or less prone to mismanage their rents. By PhD fellow Mueid Al Raee, Prof. Jo Ritzen et al.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
CIFOR / N. Elkington