Can diaspora investments help fund the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? How does aid affect growth and institutions in sub-Saharan Africa? And how do European nations compare, globally, in terms of innovation capacity? These are just a few of the questions tackled by our researchers in June 2017 — in three journal articles and five working papers, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
‘Beyond patriotic discourse in financing the SDGs: Investment-linked diaspora revenue bonds model for sub-Saharan Africa’ proposes a model to target three issues: generating diaspora investments, which will not be used to service sovereign debts; linking such investments to projects, programmes, and sectors with high economic returns; and developing hybridised institutional frameworks of local and diaspora actors to manage this investment. This model, a hybrid of sovereign and corporate bonds, draws lessons from the Sukuk market and other diaspora bonds to offer an alternative solution to the multi-dimensional nature of development financing challenges confronting SSA countries. By PhD fellow Davina Osei et al.
‘Aid, institutions and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa: Heterogeneous donors and heterogeneous responses’ contributes to the aid-effectiveness debate using panel data from 43 sub-Saharan African countries over the period 1980–2013. The study‘s novelty lies in assessing the intermediary role of institutions and the importance of recipient and donor heterogeneity. Chinese aid outperforms aggregate aid from traditional donors with respect to growth; however, it has a negative institutional effect. Comparing donor behaviour suggests that the future of aid would benefit more from focusing on quality – particularly, specialisation and donor alignment. By PhD fellow Hassen Wako.
‘A longitudinal analysis of well-being of Ghanaian children in transnational families’ is the first study to employ panel data to examine well-being outcomes (like self-rated health, happiness, life satisfaction, and school enjoyment) of children in transnational families in an African context. Results indicate that children with fathers, mothers, or both parents away and those cared for by a parent, a family, or a non-family member are equally or more likely to have higher levels of well-being as children in non-migrant families. Yet, there are certain risk factors – being a female, living in a family affected by divorce or by a change in caregiver while parents migrate – that may decrease child well-being. By Dr. Victor Cebotari et al.
‘Schooling despite all odds: Evidence from Lesotho on female child carers who stayed in school’ examines perceptions of stakeholders in Lesotho, of conditions under which female children who are the primary carers in their households are still able to regularly attend secondary school. The study employed a qualitative research approach to answer the main research question – Why and how do some girl child carers regularly attend secondary school, despite adverse situations? The study leads to the following considerations for policy, to better improve the chances of effective quality schooling for child carers: free secondary schooling, teacher training to provide specialised psychological support, in-school peer-support programmes, and community programmes supporting those that help vulnerable groups. Advocating for free secondary education aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals and the subsequent Education 2030 Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action, which commit to ensuring 12 years of free quality primary and secondary education. By Dr. Brenda Yamba.
The ‘European Innovation Scoreboard‘ gives a comparative analysis of innovation performance across EU member states, other European countries, and regional neighbours. According to this year’s results, EU innovation performance continues to increase, partly thanks to improvements in human resources, the innovation-friendly environment, own-resource investments, and attractive research systems. Overall, Sweden remains the EU innovation leader, followed by Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany. Meanwhile, the fastest growing innovators include Lithuania, Malta, and Austria. In a global comparison, the EU is catching up with Canada and the USA, but South Korea and Japan are pulling ahead. China shows the fastest progress among international competitors. The 2017 edition presents a refined analytical framework, meaning the rankings are not directly comparable with previous editions. Nevertheless, new indicators capture investments in skills, digital readiness, entrepreneurship, and public-private innovation partnerships. Additionally, a new toolbox with contextual data can be used to analyse and compare structural differences between countries. By Hugo Hollanders and Nordine Es-Sadki.
‘Heterogeneous effects of bilateral investment treaties’ estimates a gravity model of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows from a sample of OECD countries to a broader sample of developing economies, examining the impact of Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) on these flows. BITs are signed between highly heterogeneous country-pairs, with important differences found in terms of the institutional and economic distance between BIT signatories. These differences may help explain the mixed results on the effects of BITs on FDI flows in the existing literature, with this paper‘s exploration of non-linearities in this relationship suggesting that the effects of BITs are increasing in the difference in GDP and GDP per capita between source and host. BITs appear to have no impact upon FDI flows for country-pairs that are too dissimilar in terms of the strength of their political institutions. By Neil Foster-McGregor et al.
‘Sanitation challenges of the poor in urban and rural settings: Case studies of Bengaluru City and rural North Karnataka’ addresses concerns both in city and rural contexts with respect to toilet access and usage. Open defecation (OD) prevails in spite of several interventions made. In the urban contexts, lack of usage was largely due to technical discrepancies, behavioural concerns, space issue, water scarcity and poor maintenance of toilets. In the rural contexts, apart from water scarcity, restricted space, poor maintenance, cultural habits and financial constraints dominated non-usage of toilets. This paper captures these issues in-depth and provides some options in technologies and improved governance based on study findings and review of case studies. In the urban areas too, the topography of the slum location, operation and maintenance and apt technology play an important role while in the rural areas, promoting education and awareness creates a positive impact on usage of toilets. Also, institutionalising the process of construction with transparency and accountability at various stages matters to ensure proper construction of toilets. By Manasi Seshaiah, Latha Nagesh and Hemalatha Ramesh.
‘Indigenous knowledge for sustainable livelihoods: Lessons from ecological pest control and post-harvest techniques of Baduy (West Java) and Nguni (Southern Africa)’ uses the examples of swidden cultivation, pest control and rice preservation techniques of the Baduy in West Java (Indonesia) and comparable grain pits utilisation by Nguni tribes in Southern Africa to discuss how indigenous sources of knowledge can be an inspiration for greater social cohesion and sustainable livelihoods. The paper also draws lessons showing that combining indigenous knowledge systems with modern scientific methods can make it possible to achieve results that neither system can do alone. By Dr. Alexis Habiyaremye et al.
‘Estimating the impact of sericulture adoption on farmer income in Rwanda: an application of propensity score matching’ examines how Rwanda sought to develop the capability to produce silk, a high value-to-volume ratio product, as a means to overcome the constraints of high transportation cost of exports. Sericulture was also seen as a handy strategy to boost rural farmer income by putting previously less productive land to use for mulberry plantations. Because sericulture was not introduced randomly, this study relied on observational data and applied propensity score matching to estimate its income and poverty reduction effects in 6 rural districts. The study’s results indicate that sericulture adoption had beneficial effects both on increasing income and reducing poverty. The strengthening of related skills development and the supporting infrastructure remains crucial for the sericulture to successfully diffuse and yield economic benefits commensurate with its potential. By Dr. Alexis Habiyaremye.
‘Willingness to pay for agricultural risk insurance as a strategy to adapt climate change’ evaluates farm households’ willingness to pay for agricultural risk insurance intervention introduced in Ethiopia in 2009. The use of modern agricultural technologies such as high-yielding variety and inorganic fertiliser, low rainfall, large family size, and high rainfall type are potential indicators that determine farmers’ decision to adopt financial insurance. The study also found farmers’ demand for insurance increases due to the changing extreme weather events. The study provides information to agricultural policy makers and private companies to promote agricultural insurance and set the premium and enrollment unit. By Dr. Tigist Mekonnen Melesse.