Across Africa, can greater employment rates build peace, reduce fear of crime, and restore public trust in government? A new article looks at job creation schemes in five countries: Burundi, Guinea, Liberia, Mali and Uganda.
Within South Africa, do social grants and remittances improve food security and nutrition? If so, do public and private transfers produce different outcomes? A new article asks whether the source of income really matters in achieving food security.
Across the Global South, how important are international mobility, funding and other interactions for developing scientific capacity? A new PhD thesis seeks new ways to ensure research has impact and that societal needs are met.
These are just a few of the questions tackled by our researchers in May 2019 — in 12 journal articles, one book, one book chapter, one policy paper, four working papers and one PhD dissertation, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
‘Economic diversification: A model of structural economic dynamics and endogenous technological change‘ studies the patterns of diversification of economies in developing countries and tries to associate these patterns with an economic theory on growth, trade, technology change and structural transformation. Making that connection is relevant because it could inform policymakers in developing countries in designing and implementing policies for promoting diversification. This paper presents a model of structural economic dynamics and endogenous technological change that can replicate empirical regularities related to economic diversification. By Dr. Clovis Freire Junior.
‘Young innovative companies and employment creation, evidence from the Pakistani textiles sector‘ analyses the role of innovation for employment growth. In particular, the researchers develop and test the hypothesis that innovation is conducive to employment creation, and that this is especially the case for smaller and younger firms, supporting the hypothesis that young innovative companies grow faster by engaging in riskier and more radical innovation to catch up with incumbent firms. The article finds empirical evidence for these hypotheses, which is robust to different model specifications and estimation techniques and to different measures of innovation. Young innovative companies also perform well in absolute employment creation making them interesting targets from a policy perspective. By Dr. Micheline Goedhuys et al.
‘Can employment build peace? A pseudo-meta-analysis of employment programmes in Africa‘ examines an implicit theory of change in multiple strands of development programming — that a desired outcome can be brought about by programming typologies that aim to spur development in another area. In what they call a “pseudo-meta-analysis” across five African countries, the authors link the location of employment programmes to stability-related outcomes. While the study shows some positive impacts, specifically on fear of crime, these outcomes are far from universal. The paper therefore concludes that there are some grounds for optimism but more case studies are required at the programmatic level. By Prof. Eleonora Nillesen.
‘Impact of family characteristics on the gender publication gap: evidence for physicists in France‘ seeks to find the reasons behind gender differences in the publication gap in science. Using panel data econometrics, the authors confirm the existence of an average gender gap of about two-thirds of a journal article per year, and about one-third when taking into account several important control variables such as age and career characteristics. The article finds that female scientists suffer an average productivity loss of about one article when they have a young child, while male scientists suffer an insignificant loss. It also finds that female scientists benefit from having large families, with a productivity gain of 0.63 articles per year per child. By Prof. Jacques Mairesse, Dr. Fabiana Visentin et al.
‘At Europe’s frontline: factors determining migrants decision making for onwards migration from Greece and Turkey‘ examines the thinking of migrants from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria. The article demonstrates that first, the majority of respondents in both countries seek to migrate onwards (75% in Greece and 63% in Turkey) and that conditions in the transit country are highly significant in influencing onwards migration decisions including their current subjective living conditions, employment, experiences of abuse, and speaking the local language. This study contextualises the findings and highlights the complexity of factors influencing migrants’ decision making in Greece and Turkey. By Dr. Katherine Kuschminder and Dr. Jennifer Waidler.
‘Effects of health insurance on labour supply: A systematic review‘ examines the existing literature on the labour market effects of health insurance from the supply side. The article finds a large knowledge gap in emerging economies where health coverage is expanding. The authors also highlight important literature gaps that need to be filled in different themes of the topic. This is the first systematic review on the topic which is becoming increasingly relevant for policymakers in developing countries where health coverage is expanding. By PhD fellow Nga Le, Prof. Wim Groot, Dr. Sonila Tomini et al.
‘R&D and productivity in the US and the EU: Sectoral specificities and differences in the crisis‘ investigates the sources of the US/EU productivity gap. The article finds robust evidence that US firms have a higher capacity to translate R&D into productivity gains (especially in the high-tech macro sector), and this contributes to explaining the higher productivity of US firms. Conversely, EU firms are more likely to achieve productivity gains through capital-embodied technological change, at least in the medium- and low-tech macro sectors. The study also shows that the US/EU productivity gap has worsened during the crisis period, as the EU companies have been more affected by the economic crisis in their capacity to translate R&D investments into productivity. Based on these findings, the authors make a case for a learning-based and selective R&D funding, which, instead of purely aiming at stimulating higher R&D expenditures, works on improving the firms’ capabilities to transform R&D into productivity gains. By Prof. Marco Vivarelli et al.
‘How do female entrepreneurs in developing countries cope with role conflict?‘ finds that the commonest coping strategies among women entrepreneurs in developing countries are negotiation, committing to the entrepreneurial role, committing to social roles, pleasing all, seeking social support and hiring outside support. The study indicates that these coping strategies differ across the various stages of business growth and that female business owners with high levels of personal resources (such as optimism, self-efficacy and resilience) commit more to their entrepreneurial roles than to their social roles. This research contributes knowledge on coping strategies among female entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa, where family structure and orientation, the economy and social development differ from those in developed countries. The research also integrates the lines of empirical research on coping strategies with the process-based view of entrepreneurship. By Prof. Wim Naudé et al.
‘Measuring GHG emissions across the agri-food sector value chain: The development of a bioeconomy input-output model‘ provides a detailed description of the development of a Bioeconomy IO (BIO) model which is disaggregated across the subs-sectors of the agri-food value chain and environmentally extended (EE) to examine environmental outputs, including GHG emissions. The study focuses on Ireland, where emissions from agriculture comprise 33% of national GHG emissions and where there has been a major expansion and transformation in agriculture supported by national and EU policy. The analysis highlights that emissions per unit of output are much higher for beef and sheep meat value chains than for pig and poultry. The analysis facilitated by the BIO model also allows for the mapping of emissions along the agri-food value chain using the adapted IO EE approach. Such analysis is valuable in identifying emissions ‘hot-spots’ along the value chains and analysing potential avenues for emission efficiencies. By Prof. Cathal O’Donoghue et al.
‘The race for an artificial general intelligence: Implications for public policy‘ develops an all-pay contest model to derive implications for public policy to avoid the danger of an unfriendly AGI. The article argues that the danger of an unfriendly AGI can be reduced by taxing AI and using public procurement, as this would reduce the pay-off of contestants, raise the amount of R&D needed to compete, and coordinate and incentivize co-operation. According to the authors, this will help to 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 patenting by AI. By Prof. Wim Naudé et al.
‘The Colombian Observatory of Science and Technology: Between relevant context and internationally comparable indicators‘ assesses the evolution and results of the Colombian Observatory of Science and Technology (OCyT in Spanish)—a model for the production of STI indicators—and to highlight key institutional factors that should be taken into consideration if the model is intended to be replicated in other contexts. Using credibility as the key dimension in the development of statistical capacity, the study aimed to determine the technical capacity (various functions performed) and autonomy (determined by the organizational model) gained throughout the Observatory’s existence. This is of special relevance because observatories such as OCyT are purposely created and usually are not governmental institutions, and as a result they must build statistical capacity and gain credibility among stakeholders. By Dr. Charlotte Guillard et al.
‘Social grants, remittances, and food security: does the source of income matter?‘ addresses two questions: do social grants and remittances improve food security and nutritional outcomes? If so, do these impacts differ between public and private transfers? Focusing on South Africa, this article finds significant and positive impacts of the Older Person’s Grant and of remittances on the dietary diversity index, but not of the Child Support Grant. It finds no effect on food expenditure or on anthropometry (BMI) by the Older Person’s Grant, or remittances. However, some positive effects were found on children’s BMI from the Child Support Grant. The authors discuss why they observe different effects from different transfers, and give several reasons why income transfers are failing to close the nutritional deficits in South Africa. By Dr. Jennifer Waidler et al.
‘Innovation for inclusive rural transformation: the role of the state, innovation and development‘ brings together key insights from different facets of rural transformation programmes in the global South, with the view to shed light on the nature and outcomes of state involvement. The contributions to this publication highlight three domains in which the state plays a pivotal role in spurring inclusive rural transformation: promoting agricultural innovation in Algeria and Vietnam, supporting rural capacity building in South Africa and Peru, and the provision of pro-poor innovations for rural social development in India and Argentina. In all three domains, government support coupled with greater participation of local community members in the planning and implementation of innovative projects proved to produce greater potential for success. The contributions also emphasise the pivotal role that the state must play in supporting local capability building and bridging knowledge gaps between innovation producers and rural user communities, in order to facilitate local absorption of external technological solutions. By Dr. Alexis Habiyaremye.
‘Ready for Industry 4.0? The case of Central and Eastern Europe‘ examines the industry 4.0 (I4.0) readiness of eight Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs): Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia. After first explaining the three key dimensions of I4.0 readiness: technological, entrepreneurial, and governance competencies, this book chapter finds that the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, and Slovenia are most I4.0 ready. Bulgaria, Slovakia, Romania, and Poland are the least ready. The authors recommend that all the countries in the region could do more to (i) promote entrepreneurship, to (ii) diversify and grow manufacturing export markets through focused trade facilitation and exchange rate policy in the cases of the non-eurozone countries, and (iii) to cooperate regionally on industrial policy – through, for instance, establishing a regional CEEC I4.0 Platform. By Prof. Wim Naudé et al.
‘Version 2.0: Rebooting the EU’s international mediation role‘ builds on research findings produced by the UACES-funded EU as International Mediator research network and reflects on the EU’s experiences in international mediation. The policy brief provides concrete policy recommendations that could feed into a strategic update of the 2009 Concept on Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacities. By Dr. Michal Natorski.
‘Evidence of the determinants of migration in the EU‘ seeks to build a better understanding of what drives contemporary migration flows, and of the factors shaping the migration decisions of individuals within the EU. The main finding of the study is that there is rarely one clear “determinant” of an individual’s intra-EU migration decision. Instead, motivations for migration and the choice of a specific destination country are more often than not complex and highly interrelated. The research suggests that specific factors relating to educational and career development opportunities, the desire for new experiences and challenges, preferences for particular cultures, lifestyles, political systems and social norms, and the pursuit of self-knowledge, are highly relevant in many intra-EU migrants’ mobility decisions. By Talitha Dubow, Dr. Katrin Marchand and Prof. Melissa Siegel.
‘R&D, innovation and productivity‘ reviews various technological indicators from innovation inputs to innovation outputs, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses and the consequent caution that is in order when using these data for economic analysis. The paper briefly explains the theoretical link between innovation and productivity growth and then compares the estimated magnitudes of that relationship using the different innovation indicators. By Prof. Pierre Mohnen.
‘Domestic intellectual property rights protection and exports: Accessing the credit channel‘ examines the role of the credit channel i.e. firms access to external finance in the study of how domestic IPRs protection affects a country’s exports results. The paper evaluates the export effect of domestic IPRs protection within the comparative model framework and finds empirical evidence for the hypothesis, with the results indicating that countries with more effective IPRs protection export more from sectors that depend more on external finance and that have more intangible assets. By Dr. Gideon Ndubuisi.
‘The role of early-career university prestige stratification on the future academic performance of scholars‘ studies how changes of a scholar’s institutional prestige during early-career relate to future academic performance. The paper finds that scholars hired by their existing faculty sustain higher performance over their career in comparison to other groups. Interestingly, the study finds that scholars who move up the hierarchy exhibit, on average, lower academic performance than the other groups. The authors argue that the negative relation between upward-ranking mobility and performance is related to the difficulties in changing research teams at an early-career stage and to the so-called “big-fish-small-pond” effect. They observe a high stratification of universities by prestige and a negative association between mobility and performance that can hinder the flows of knowledge throughout the science system. By PhD fellows Mario Gonzalez Sauri and Giulia Rossello.
‘Developing scientific capacity in the Global South‘ aimed to identify concrete ways to develop scientific capacity in the Global South, and in linking those research efforts to national socio-economic objectives. Methodologically, the different chapters apply an array of econometric, bibliometric, text mining and social network analysis techniques applied to four different datasets. Taken together, the results highlight the importance of international research interactions (and funding), access to mobility, and adequate mentorship for the development of scientific capacity in the Global South that may lead to research with impact, university-industry collaborations and achievement of societal needs. By Dr. Hugo Confraria.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.