When it comes to research output in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, what are the roles played by gender and race — and what are the implications for PhD fellows and their supervisors? A new paper finds productivity variations in South Africa of between 10-20%.
For the mining industry in Latin America and the Caribbean, how far is innovation linked to commodity prices? A new study finds that mining firms increase exploration and R&D investments when mineral prices rise, but rely more on suppliers when mineral prices fall.
And when it comes to supporting immigrant students, what policies and practices are most likely to ensure integration and academic success? Given the disproportionate socio-economic challenges faced by immigrant students, a new article recommends education ministries to develop dedicated standalone policy documents.
These are just three of the questions tackled by our researchers in May 2020 — in one book, one book chapter, six journal articles, one policy brief, and seven working papers, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
The ‘Routledge handbook of migration and development‘ provides an interdisciplinary, agenda-setting survey of the fields of migration and development, bringing together over 60 expert contributors from around the world. Starting by mapping the different theoretical approaches to migration and development, the book goes on to present cutting edge research in poverty and inequality, displacement, climate change, health, family, social policy, interventions, and the key challenges surrounding migration and development. While much of the migration literature continues to be dominated by US and British perspectives, this volume includes original contributions from most regions of the world in an effort to offer alternative non-Anglophone perspectives. Edited by Prof. Ronald Skeldon and with contributions by Prof. Melissa Siegel, Prof. Ronald Skeldon, Prof. Hein de Haas, PhD fellow Elaine McGregor et al.
‘Trust and R&D investments: Evidence from OECD countries‘ examines two potential mechanisms – access to credit and reduction in relational risks – through which social trust can affect R&D investments. Social trust can increase R&D investments by expanding firms’ access to external finance with which they can use to fund promising R&D projects. It can also increase R&D investments by reducing relational risks that expose firms to ex-ante and ex-post holdups or expropriation risks. The study finds that external-finance-dependent industries and relational-risks-vulnerable industries experience relatively higher R&D investment intensities in trust-intensive countries. The results underline access to external finance and reduction in relational risks as causal pathways linking social trust and R&D investments. By Dr. Gideon Ndubuisi.
‘The use of a multidimensional support model to examine policies and practices for immigrant students across Canada‘ considers measures that have been articulated by Ministries and Departments of Education across Canada to facilitate the integration and success of immigrant students in K–12 public education systems. The authors recommend Ministries and Departments of Education to develop a standalone policy document to address all of the unique needs of immigrant students comprehensively and devote greater attention to the socio-economic challenges immigrant students disproportionately face. By Prof. Louis Volante, Prof. Melissa Siegel et al.
‘Sources of data on digital talent in Latin America and the Caribbean‘ provides an inventory of resources including a general description of the source and a preliminary assessment along the following dimensions: country coverage, indicators by which advanced digital skills are measured, accessibility, and quality of the data. The study contemplates broad categories of resources and, noting country differences, highlights gaps. To conclude, it proposes a set of strategies for filling gaps in information about digital skills. By Dr. Alison Cathles.
‘O programa Ciência sem Fronteiras e a falha sistêmica no ciclo de políticas públicas‘ analyses the Brazilian student and academic mobility programme Science without Borders, using the public policy cycle as a methodological tool. The study is based on the literature, on available documents about the programme and on a case study carried out at a Brazilian university. The programme showed weaknesses in a systemic way, in all phases of its cycle. The study shows that the policy was created and implemented abruptly and that its design was not adequate to meet its objectives. By PhD fellow Cintia Denise Granja et al.
‘Contractual frictions and the patterns of trade: The role of generalized trust‘ finds robust evidence that countries with high generalised trust level export relatively more in industries that are prone to contractual frictions. Results on export margins further suggest that countries with a high generalised trust level enter more markets, ship more products to each destination, and have higher export per product and export intensities in those industries. On the one hand, the results reemphasise the importance of trust for improved economic performance. On the other hand, the results explain why a country endowed with weak formal domestic contracting institutions may still have a comparative cost advantage in contract intensive industries due to having strong domestic informal institutions such as generalised trust. By Dr. Gideon Ndubuisi.
‘The relevance of institutions and people’s preferences in the PSNP and IN-SCT programmes in Ethiopia‘ builds on the recent literature that indicates that the quality of institutions and people’s preferences play an important role in the implementation of social protection. It does so by examining Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme – one of the largest social protection programmes in sub‐Saharan Africa. Based on primary qualitative data, the article finds that greater institutional quality at the local level is associated with the more effective provision of social protection. The ability of community members and social protection clients to voice preferences can lead to adaptations in implementation, although the extent to which this occurs is highly gendered. By Dr. Vincenzo Vinci and Dr. Keetie Roelen.
‘Hammer or nudge? Science-based policy advice in the COVID-19 pandemic’ argues that the science-based policy advice for measures to combat COVID-19 also has some worrying features. This policy brief discusses three features which have led to a strong national bias in both science-based policy advice and in the national policies implemented to combat COVID-19. The author offers alternative approaches focusing in particular on the European Union. By Prof. Luc Soete.
‘PhD research output in STEM: The role of gender and race in supervision‘ studies whether student-advisor gender and race couples matter for publication productivity of PhD students in South Africa. The study finds early career productivity differences: while female students publish on average 10% to 20% fewer articles than males, this is true mainly for female students working with a male advisor, not for those working with a female one. These disparities are similar, though more pronounced when looking at the joint effects of gender and race for the white-white and black-black student-advisor pairs. The authors also explore whether publication productivity differences change significantly for students with a high, medium, or low “productivity-profile”, and find that they are U-shaped. Female students with a high (or low) “productivity-profile” studying with female advisors are as productive as male students with a high (or low) “productivity-profile” studying with male advisors. By PhD fellow Giulia Rossello, Prof. Robin Cowan and Prof. Jacques Mairesse.
‘How does innovation take place in the mining industry? Understanding the logic behind innovation in a changing context‘ aims to understand the innovation mechanisms in the mining sector. The paper reveals that innovation and linkages in the mining sector are closely related to commodity prices as follows: a) mineral exploration, a risky, knowledge-intensive investment to increase mineral supply that leads to profit, is equivalent to R&D; b) mining firms increase the exploration and R&D investments when the mineral prices rise; c) mining firms rely on innovation by the suppliers to reduce production cost; and d) mining firms increase the use of suppliers when mineral prices fall. The better understanding of innovation mechanism in mining sector enables to formulate effective policies to make the sector to be a catalyst in transforming the economy of resource-rich developing countries. By PhD fellow Beatriz Calzada Olvera and Dr. Michiko Iizuka.
‘Policy opportunities and challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic for economies with large informal sectors‘ suggests the Covid-19 crisis provides the circumstances for greater active engagement with informal actors, by placing informal enterprises on par with formal firms within industrial policy. The paper proposes integration and registration, as opposed to formalisation, and the provision of state support without taxation. The role of the state is also crucial in matchmaking, creating incentives for GVCs to engage with informal actors systematically, and to reduce the transaction costs for informal actors in such engagement. The author argues that these actions are likely to provide benefits in the longer run, even if they prove costly in the short run. By Prof. Rajneesh Narula.
‘Digital technologies and firm performance: Evidence from Europe‘ uses data from the EIBIS 2019 survey to examine whether the adoption of different digital technologies (such as advanced robotics, 3D printing, or Internet of Things) by firms in the EU have different impacts on productivity. The article also examines whether these different technologies have different implications for employment growth and whether there are complementarities between technologies when it comes to firm performance. By Dr. Alison Cathles et al.
‘Occupational sorting and wage gaps of refugees‘ uses unique Swedish employer-employee data to show that the observed wage gap between established refugees and comparable natives is mainly caused by occupational sorting into cognitive and manual tasks. Within occupations, it can be largely explained by differences in work experience. By Prof. Klaus F. Zimmermann et al.
‘Labour market effects of COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa: An informality lens from Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal‘ presents real-time survey evidence on the labour market effects of COVID-19 in Senegal, Mali, and Burkina Faso. The paper investigates how informality exacerbates the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on job loss, decrease in earnings, and difficulties for individuals to support their basic needs. The study reveals a reduction in economic activities and finds that workers in the informal economy tend to be more hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Informal workers are more likely to lose their jobs and tend to experience a decrease in earnings. By PhD fellow Racky Balde, Dr. Elvis Avenyo et al.
‘Public universities, in search of enhanced funding‘ examines the impact of funding on the quality of research and teaching and through research and teaching on the economy. In particular, the paper considers the possible effects of the Covid-19 crisis on university funding. By Prof. Ritzen.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
Pexels / L. Castro