What particular challenges does the EU face in transitioning to a low-carbon electricity system? What are the likely scientific and social impacts? A new PhD thesis considers the main hurdles for the EU in its shift from intensive use of fossil fuels to a low-carbon power system.
What are the causes and drivers of inequality across Botswana? A new report for UNDP reveals the structure and drivers of inequality including the role of tertiary education and the links between land ownership, demographics and inequality.
These are just two questions tackled by our researchers in July & August 2021 — in five working papers, four journal articles and two research reports, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
‘Inequality in Botswana: An analysis of the drivers and district-level mapping of select dimensions of inequality’ assesses and maps inequality across districts using advanced techniques to identify the determinants of, and contributors to, inequality as Botswana’s economy pivots and evolves. The report charts the spatial distribution of consumption inequality including the definition of a Gini coefficient by district. Subsequent sections reveal the structure and drivers of inequality including the role of tertiary education, public and parastatal bodies, as well as the linkages between land ownership, demographic factors and inequality. By Dr. Bruno Martorano, Dr. Ortrun Merkle, Alex Hunns, Giulio Bordon, PhD candidate Cintia Denise Granja and Francesco Iacoella.
‘Literature review labour migration. An exploratory study into the shortages of qualified personnel at the upper secondary vocational level and the possibilities and limitations of employing migrants‘ maps the opportunities and limitations of filling labour shortages through labour migration, especially in the middle segment of the labour market. This report first explores the labour shortages in the middle segment of the Dutch labour market, with a special focus on the metal, energy transition and healthcare sectors, and next discusses the skills requirements and background characteristics of workers per focus sector. The migration part of the report continues with discussing the priority supply in the EEA+ countries and to what extent this matches Dutch labour demand. Next, the report addresses migration as a solution to address shortages in the middle segment of the Dutch labour market. In doing so, it reviews relevant European and Dutch legislation on migration as well as the recognition of qualifications. Furthermore, it discusses what can be learnt from Germany and some other countries. Apart from migration, the report also explores to what extent other possible solutions can contribute to solving the identified shortages in the middle segment of the Dutch labour market, in particular for the three focus sectors. Finally, the report concludes with how these solutions relate to the possible role of labour migration policy to tackle bottlenecks on the labour market, and discusses some directions for further research. By PhD candidate Julia Reinold et al.
‘Semi-endogenous growth models with domestic and foreign private and public R&D linked to VECMs’ presents semi-endogenous growth models with productivity as functions of domestic and foreign private and public R&D. Combining the marginal products of VES functions with recent evidence from VECMs for five countries shows that private and public R&D have a positive effect on productivity (except for France), and a negative R&D augmenting technical change. In the case of a VES function, steady states with constant R&D/productivity ratios exist only for special cases of parameter restrictions, which are not supported by the evidence. By Dr. Thomas Ziesemer.
‘The impact of mission-oriented R&D on domestic and foreign private and public R&D, total factor productivity and GDP‘ analyses the dynamic interaction of mission-oriented R&D expenditure stocks with domestic and foreign private and public R&D, total-factor-productivity (TFP), and gross domestic product (GDP) for seven EU countries. By Dr. Thomas Ziesemer.
‘Indigenous knowledge systems in ecological pest control and post-harvest rice conservation techniques: Sustainability lessons from Baduy Communities‘ examines how swidden cultivation, pest control and rice preservation techniques contribute to strengthening the sustainability of their livelihoods in Baduy communities in Java. The study also examines the potential for knowledge sharing between Baduy indigenous knowledge holders and outside scientific communities for mutual enhancement. The analysis of collected data indicates that while the Baduy are open to sharing their ecological knowledge with outsiders for the sake of greater environmental protection, they remain wary of adopting external knowledge sources, as these external influences constitute a threat of disruption to their own epistemic system and way of life. By Dr. Alexis Habiyaremye et al.
‘Turkey’s diplomatic charm offensive in sub-Saharan Africa: Is Ankara winning the hearts and minds of Africans?‘ argues that to take advantage of geopolitical and business gains offered by Africa’s growth potential, Turkey has metamorphosed its relations with African countries from marginal interest during the Cold War to an unprecedented intensification and expansion initiated towards the turn of the century. Ankara’s foreign policy pivot to Africa was born out of the growing realisation that Turkey needed to develop multiple ties and engage with non-traditional partners as the best strategy to secure its post-Cold War economic and security interests. Expanding relations with Africa, especially with sub-Saharan Africa has therefore been one of the key tenets of the ruling Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi’s (Justice and Development Party, JDP) foreign policy since it assumed power in 2002. By Dr. Alexis Habiyaremye.
‘Systematic approaches to social protection‘ adopts a pragmatic and technocratic view on systematic approaches to social protection, by regarding any collection of social protection tools installed in a particular country as a ‘system’. This chapter makes a thorough mapping and analysis of all social protection systems to study how well every element of the systems fits together, and to draw attention to contradictions, inconsistencies, overlaps in coverage, benefit levels and eligibility conditions and coverage gaps for the purpose of improving effectiveness and efficiency. By Dr. Victor Cebotari et al.
‘Women’s mobile phone access and use: A snapshot of six states in India‘ provides a snapshot of the way digitisation through mobile phones plays out among women in India. The paper explores how women access and use mobile phones to understand what this means for enabling digital services including digital financial inclusion for women, as well as having a better understanding of barriers and exclusions with respect to digital financial inclusion. By Dr. Lina Sonne.
‘Positioning firms along the capabilities ladder’ presents a novel methodology for quantifying the capability development of firms, and putting these capabilities (and hence also the firms) in a hierarchy corresponding to their position on the capabilities ladder. The study finds that capability ranking can explain future growth patterns and survival probability of firms, summing up in one number their future potential trajectories. By Dr. Nanditha Mathew et al.
‘Social networks and agricultural performance: A multiplex analysis of interactions among Indian rice farmers’ investigates the individual and joint effects of multiple connections (relationships) that exist among households on agricultural output. The paper finds that information flows are crucial to improve agricultural output when networks are accounted for individually. However, the joint effect of different networks using multiplex shows a significantly positive influence, indicating complementarity across relationships. In addition, the authors found evidence for the mediating role of interpersonal relationships (friendship networks) in enhancing gains from the information flow. By PhD candidates Bruhan Konda and Mario Gonzalez Sauri, Prof. Robin Cowan, et al.
‘Simulating the impact of a raise in education salaries on economic growth in Peru’ shows that increasing teacher salaries is likely to be (very) profitable for Peru. The paper finds that the required investments have in the long run a substantial return in economic growth as higher salaries would lead to higher teacher cognitive skills, which in turn impact student achievement. The paper suggests that international development banks should develop products for education finance with a long period (60 years or more) before repayments must be made. By Prof. Jo Ritzen et al.
‘Political polarization and the impact of internet and social media use in Brazil‘ investigates the impact of the Internet and social media use on Brazil’s recent affective polarisation, exploring the historical peculiarities in the layout of pre-existing infrastructure that causes exogenous variation in Internet and social media usage. The paper finds no empirical evidence that access to this new media environment explains affective polarisation within the population. Findings are consistent with the strand of literature suggesting that the recent phenomena of political polarisation in some countries cannot be attributed to Internet and social media use. By PhD candidate Lorena Giuberti Coutinho.
‘Exploring health workers’ experiences of mental health challenges during care of patients with COVID-19 in Uganda: a qualitative study’ investigates the lived experiences of mental health among frontline health workers providing COVID-19-related care in Uganda. This research note provides insights into the contextual realities of the mental health of health workers facing greater challenges given the lack of adequate resources, facilities and health workers to meet the demand brought about by COVID-19. By Dr. Choolwe Muzyamba et al.
‘Learning from the COVID-19 pandemic: How to better prepare for the next global crisis‘ argues that the current COVID-19 pandemic appears to have affected the world’s economy less severely than originally feared. The world’s economic system seems more resilient to health crises than to financial crises. By Prof. Luc Soete.
‘Transition towards a renewable European electricity system: What are the implications for the power technology mix, pan-European power trade and the electricity market?‘ identifies and investigates the main challenges faced by the transition towards a low-carbon electricity system in the EU. The social impact of the research presented in this dissertation is directly related to the global ambitions to lower the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the electricity sector. The scientific impact of these research results adds to increasing empirical literature that studies the effects of intermittent renewable energy on different aspects of the power system and on the electricity market. Ultimately, the research discussed in this dissertation aims to contribute to the understanding of the particular set of challenges that the EU faces in its transition away from a fossil-fuel intensive power system and towards a low-carbon one. By Dr. Iulia Falcan.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
Pixabay / E. Shitikov