What are the links between migration, remittances and sustainable development in Africa? A new book considers how they relate to economic transformation, knowledge generation, corruption and conflict. It concludes with evidence-based policy recommendations in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Would a greater focus on human security improve the planning and roll out of the 2030 Agenda? A new paper argues that this lens draws together many disparate tools, while also increasing human resilience. It presents two extended case studies, and gives suggestions for UN organisations, governments, and policy researchers.
These are just a couple of questions tackled by our researchers in November 2020 — in one book, three journal articles, and six working papers, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
‘A metric to assess brokerage positions within social networking sites‘ seeks to better understand informal networking among educators in social networking sites (SNSs). To achieve this goal, the study first indicates how the concept of social capital can be used to assess communication flows within SNSs. Then, it considers social networking metrics and questions whether they are as relevant in an online realm. Next, it argues for the use of an adjusted brokerage index, namely the social brokerage index (SBI), to shed light on how brokerage positions are shaped by different people within SNSs. Finally, it provides empirical data from six educational hashtag conversations on Twitter to test the relevance and applicability of the SBI. The authors’ proposed SBI adds value to the analyses of network behaviour beyond the scope of Twitter. More specifically, the SBI could help to understand what type of discussions draw what type of participants and thereby shed more light on how SNSs contribute to social capital formation among teachers and educational professionals. By Dr. Martin Rehm, researcher Ad Notten et al.
‘Health insurance and self-employment transitions in Vietnam’ studies the relationship between health insurance and self-employment in low- and middle-income countries, especially in the context of the rapid expansion of health insurance in these countries. This article examines this relationship in Vietnam focusing on a comparison between the voluntary scheme for the informal sector (mostly self-employed workers) and compulsory insurance for the formal sector (mostly wage workers). The research finds that workers with compulsory health insurance in Vietnam, the formal workers, are 10 percentage points less likely to enter self-employment than those who have voluntary insurance. People with compulsory insurance are more likely to exit self-employment compared with those who are covered by voluntary insurance. By Dr. Nga Leopold, Prof. Wim Groot, Dr. Sonila Tomini et al.
‘On the malleability of gender attitudes: Evidence from implicit and explicit measures in Tunisia’ aims to inform policymakers on the potential power of light interventions and to improve measurements related to gender norms and attitudes. The authors use a new field application of the implicit association test (IAT), next to a set of standard survey questions, to measure implicit gender attitudes in Tunisia. Implicit attitudes are considered less susceptible to measurement bias and may serve to more accurately assess gender attitudes. Further, they examine the malleability of implicit gender attitudes using a randomised video intervention illustrating real-life gender reforms in Tunisia, and natural variation in interviewer characteristics with respect to gender and perceived religiosity. The study finds that the video has no average impact on implicit (IAT-based) attitudes, which is consistent with the idea that in a highly polarised society like Tunisia such an intervention only affects specific groups in a society. The study finds that the video mitigates the implicit gender bias only among the specific subpopulation of conservative women. It also confirms the presence of interviewer effects. By. Prof. Eleonora Nillesen, Dr. Micheline Goedhuys, Dr. Aline Meysonnat et al.
‘Migration, remittances, and sustainable development in Africa‘ provides a multidisciplinary examination of the links between migration, remittances and sustainable development in Africa and makes evidence-based policy recommendations on migration to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The key themes examined are migration and remittances, and their relations with the following issues: economic transformation, education and knowledge, corruption and conflict. Cross-cutting issues such as gender equality and youth are weaved throughout the chapters, and a rich range of country contexts are presented. The volume also discusses challenges in managing migration flows. Edited by Dr. Maty Konte et al.
‘Shaping the migration journey – the role of corruption’ investigates how the experiences of corruption of irregular and forced migrants in Africa are gendered. It analyses both how corruption plays a role in the home country in shaping the migration path and how it continues to be important throughout the journey. This chapter in the book ‘Migration, Remittances, and Sustainable Development in Africa‘ finds that corruption comes into play whenever legal options for migration are limited and is a constant throughout all stages of the migration process for several migrant groups. While both men and women routinely encounter corruption during different stages of the migration process, this chapter finds that women are especially vulnerable to atypical forms of corruption, including sexual extortion (‘sextortion’). Women travelling alone are also especially exposed to corruption and sexual exploitation along the way. The chapter also discusses the large impact of underlying gender norms on the experiences of corruption both in the home country and throughout the journey. By Dr. Ortrun Merkle, PhD fellow Julia Reinold and Prof. Melissa Siegel.
‘Diaspora knowledge transfer in Sierra Leone and Somaliland‘ draws on research conducted within the programme Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D), administered by IOM, the Netherlands, from 2017 to 2019. Case examples illustrate the experiences of participants and the institutions in the origin countries hosting the diaspora member in Sierra Leone and Somaliland with regard to knowledge transfer and, subsequently, how the knowledge transfer contributes to capacity building and changes at the organization. This chapter in the book ‘Migration, Remittances, and Sustainable Development in Africa‘ illustrates two common forms of knowledge transfer within CD4D, formal training programmes and close forms of work collaborations, and shows how diaspora experts contribute to individual capacity building as well as to the introduction of new procedures in the host institutions. By PhD fellow Charlotte Mueller.
‘Migration, remittances, and child education in Ghana: Evidence from a longitudinal study’ examines educational outcomes – school enjoyment, and class ranking – of children whose parents migrated internally or internationally and who received in-kind remittances, monetary remittances, or both. Results indicate dynamic patterns of sending remittances over years, with preferences converging toward sending both in-kind and monetary remittances by internal and international migrant parents. Overall, the education of children benefits when they receive both in-kind and monetary remittances. The positive effects are further enhanced when remittances are directly invested in child education. The absence of remittances has more negative effects on child education, especially for girls. This chapter in the book ‘Migration, Remittances, and Sustainable Development in Africa‘gives a more nuanced understanding of the dynamic and intertwined associations between parental migration, remittances, and the education of children in transnational families. By Dr. Victor Cebotari.
‘Connecting Diaspora for Development 2 (CD4D2)‘ summarises the main findings of interviews conducted between February and August 2020 as part of the baseline evaluation of IOM’s Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) 2 Project. This baseline study aims to identify the main characteristics, strengths, and challenges of selected host institutions as well as their motivation to host CD4D-assignments and their expectations for the project. Next, the report provides an overview of the progress to date on the evaluation for which work started in December 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person country visits to Iraq and Nigeria were replaced by virtual interviews. The report discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the target countries and reflects on how this has impacted the CD4D2 project in the different countries. The main findings present the host institutions’ expectations for CD4D2, with regards to the diaspora experts’ tasks, skills that staff should gain, and outputs and impacts of CD4D2. The authors also address the impact of COVID-19 on the host institutions’ work and the CD4D project. By PhD fellow Charlotte Mueller and Dr. Katherine Kuschminder.
‘Rethinking humanitarian aid & making the case for humanitarian social protection: A response to the 2019 Global Refugee Forum‘ argues that if social protection is viewed from a transformative lens, it could be regarded as a strategic approach to reduce deprivations and enhance resilience through strengthening the link between humanitarian aid and human development. Structurally extending coordinated social protection provisions to refugees could be a pathway forward to durable solutions. This paper is written as a response to the 2019 Global Refugee Forum and tackles the complex question of extending social protection benefits to refugees while simultaneously linking the need promoting resilience of the host community through developing a framework that links humanitarian social protection to human development processes. By Dr. Zina Nimeh, PhD fellow Tamara A. Kool, Francesco Iacoella and Alex Hunns.
‘Parental gender stereotypes and student wellbeing in China’ investigates the intergenerational association between parental education and gender stereotypes for non-cognitive abilities of 11-18 years old students. Wellbeing measures collected on a 5 level intensity scale cover the well-defined items “depressed”, “feeling blue”, “unhappy”, “not enjoying life”, and “sad”. The paper shows that parental gender stereotypes strongly decrease student wellbeing in China, but with no relevant gender differences between parents and students. Also parental human capital has no stabilising effects for offspring wellbeing. By Prof. Klaus F. Zimmermann et al.
‘Social assimilation and labour market outcomes of migrants in China’ finds that identifying migrants in China as local residents significantly increase migrants’ hourly wages and reduce hours worked, although their monthly earnings remained barely changed. Further findings suggest that migrants with strong local identity are more likely to use local networks in job search and to obtain jobs with higher average wages and lower average hours worked per day. By Prof. Klaus F. Zimmermann et al.
‘Addressing the productivity paradox with big data: A literature review and adaptation of the CDM econometric model’ develops a plan for econometric estimations of the relationship between firm productivity and the specifics of the innovation process. The study lays out the basis for the econometric estimation relation to the micro-foundations of the productivity paradox at the level of the firm. The authors highlight the importance of technology-centred explanations of the productivity paradox and argue that trends towards intangibles, spillovers/open innovation, and servitisation can contribute to shedding light on the productivity paradox, potentially, in parts explaining it. By Dr. Serdar Turkeli, Dr. Fabiana Visentin et al.
‘Schumpeter and Keynes: Economic growth in a super-multiplier mode’ presents a model of economic growth based on Keynesian ideas (the role of autonomous demand in economic growth) as well as Schumpeterian notions (technological change). The model fits in the Sraffian supermultiplier (SSM) tradition, and endogenises the growth rate of autonomous demand, and semi-endogenise productivity growth. The basic model has a steady state that is consistent with a stable employment rate. Consumption smoothing (between periods of high and low employment) by workers is the mechanism that keeps the growing economy stable. The authors also introduce a version of the model where the burden for stabilisation falls upon government fiscal policy. This also yields a stable growth path, although the parameter restrictions for stability are more demanding in this case. By Dr. Önder Nomaler, Dr. Danilo Spinola and Prof. Bart Verspagen.
‘Adding human security and human resilience to help advance the SDGs agenda’ recommends adding a human security perspective in and/or to SDGs planning and implementation, at country level and in multilateral arenas. The paper argues that this perspective can draw together many available tools and stimulate their use focused on recognising and managing threats in people’s daily lives, not least by increasing human resilience. This paper presents the rationale for this approach, certain components, and its relevance to the SDGs Agenda. It examines two extended case studies and concludes with suggestions for UN organisations, governments, and policy researchers. By Tamara A. Kool et al.
‘Structural change in developing countries: Patterns, causes, and consequences’ investigates the patterns, causes, and (labour market) consequences of structural change in developing countries, especially in Africa. This dissertation produces a new sectoral database to reflect current sectoral development in Africa and presents four main conclusions. First and foremost, the structural change of Africa is atypical, characterised by a process of informal tertiarisation, labour market turbulence and de-agriculturalisation driven by the push effect (increasing agricultural productivity). Second, the thesis shows that successful productivity convergence within Africa requires the combination of technical progress and efficiency change. Third, the thesis argues that countries in Africa are undergoing a process of industrial stagnation, not premature deindustrialisation. Regarding the role of policy reform, the thesis shows that structural reforms affect productivity growth through the intra-allocative efficiency channel but not the inter-allocative efficiency channel, helping to explain why many developing countries had structural adjustment programs without structural change. By Dr. Emmanuel Buadi Mensah.
‘Governance of international adaptation finance for local climate change adaptation: An analysis of adaptation fund projects’ explores whether the governance arrangements through which recipient developing countries access financing from developed countries influence if and how financial resources are invested in community-focused and innovative adaptation projects. By Dr. Ornsaran Pomme Manuamorn.
‘Doing policy in further education: An exploration of the enactment of the GCSE resit policy in further education colleges in England’ examines how high-stakes education policy is enacted in Further Education colleges in England. The findings uncover a high degree of ‘disaffected consent’ and performance-oriented practices, which the thesis suggests can be explained by the notion of (constructed) coercive isomorphism and by positioning enactment as an inherently ‘bounded’ concept, the shape of which is influenced by local actor and organisational contexts. The research fills gaps in the existing literature by focusing on an understudied policy area, testing and adapting existing ‘tools’ of enactment researchers and reflecting more broadly on the concept of how and why policies become translated from text to action and the implications that this process can have for policymakers, practitioners and the public. By Dr. Gillian McFarland.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.