How has the COVID-19 lockdown affected business performance in Ghana? A new paper investigates informal enterprises in two urban centres, and finds that gender gaps are likely to grow in terms of performance.
How do Global Value Chains affect export quality? A new paper looks at export upgrading in the context of economic development, and finds that GVC integration tends to improve export quality. However, it is developed countries that benefit most clearly from ‘forward’ and ‘backward’ linkages.
And do firms see R&D spending as a cost per se or an investment? A new article finds that cost considerations are secondary factors, and that research investments are driven by the expected value of innovations, risk and strategic competence development.
These are just three of the questions tackled by our researchers in June 2020 — in five working papers and two journal articles, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
‘COVID-19, lockdowns, and Africa’s informal sector: Lessons from Ghana’ analyses how the lockdown may affect the performance of female- and male-owned informal enterprises in two urban areas of Ghana, Accra and Tema. The paper finds an unexplained spatial gap in sales between informal owners who reside in Accra and Tema. It finds no gender gap in sales or innovation. Yet, the authors observe explained and unexplained gender-gaps in how size affects current sales of informal enterprises. Given that the lockdown affects business performance, the results suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to increase or introduce gender- and spatial-gaps in the performance of informal enterprises. By Dr. Elvis Avenyo, PhD fellow Tatenda Zinyemba et al.
‘How important is GVC participation to export upgrading?’ investigates how participation in the global value chain (GVC) affects export-quality. The paper finds that participation in GVC impacts positively on export quality and, also, brings the export quality of countries closer to the quality frontier, but these effects only work through backward linkages. While this result persists in the sub-sample comprising developing economies, developed countries benefit from both forward and backward linkages in GVC. Overall, the results indicate that GVC participation matters to export upgrading but points to a potential heterogeneity on the channel of impact across countries at different levels of development. By PhD fellows Gideon Ndubuisi and Solomon Owusu.
‘Patterns of growth in structuralist models: The role of the real exchange rate and industrial policy’ presents a Balance-of-Payments (BOP)-constrained growth model in which the interaction between the real exchange rate (RER) policy and industrial policy result in the emergence of different patterns of growth and income distribution. The transition from one equilibrium level of the RER to a new equilibrium level generates a process of learning that transforms the income elasticity of exports and hence the BOP-constrained rate of growth in the long run. The model produces a variety of outcomes that help explain the contradictory results that emerge from the empirical literature on the impact of the real exchange rate on economic growth in the long run. By Dr. Danilo Spinola et al.
‘Economic gender gap in the Global South: How institutional quality matters’ examines how public institutional quality affects the gender gap in economic participation and opportunities in 74 developing and emerging countries during the period 2006-2016. The paper finds that the quality of public institutions is closely associated with the economic gender gap. Specifically, the protection of property rights, security guarantees and government efficiency seem to be the main factors associated with lower values of the economic gender gap. Nevertheless, public institutions do not matter equally throughout economically backward countries. Whereas in emerging countries, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean, a broad variety of institutional aspects, including undue influence on judicial and government decisions, are closely related to the economic gender gap, in low-income developing countries, such as Sub-Saharan countries, the problems of ethics and corruption stand out as a key element against economic gender equality. By Prof. Salvador Pérez-Moreno et al.
‘The political economy of public research, or why some governments commit to research more than others’ looks at investment in public research as a political choice depending on the political institutions of countries. The paper finds a robust relationship between public-funded research and political institutions. Countries with parliamentary forms of government, proportional electoral rules and bicameralism devote larger shares of GDP and of public expenditure to research. The authors also find a great role of encompassing civic society organisations in encouraging public research. By Drs. Andrea Filippetti and Antonio Vezzani.
‘Gender attitudes in the Arab region – the role of framing and priming effects’ shows in a first experiment that questions on attitudes towards decision-making power, when framed in an equality frame, reduce responses in favour of gender inequality. In a second experiment, the authors find that responses to attitudes towards domestic violence are susceptible to an audio primer. Oral statistical information about the incidence of domestic violence in Tunisia increases disapproval of domestic violence among the male subsample further but does not affect women. In terms of impact heterogeneity, the study finds mixed results for treatment interventions interacting with the gender of the interviewer and the interviewer’s perceived religiosity. By Dr. Micheline Goedhuys, Prof. Eleonora Nillesen et al.
‘How companies respond to growing research costs: Cost control or value creation?’ investigates different strategies that can be oriented towards controlling cost or focus on opportunities to create value. The case studies examined in this article reveal that company spending on R&D is not perceived as a cost per se, but rather as an investment. Cost considerations are secondary factors and the main drivers of research investments are based on the expected value of innovations, risk and strategic competence development, and anticipating uncertainty concerning the kind of research that might be needed in the future. By Dr. René Wintjes et al.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
Pexels / C. Duque