What social protection innovations were implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis? A new report commissioned by UNDP found that almost all countries required innovative practices to quickly deliver social protection to those usually excluded from benefits, including informal-sector workers, refugees and migrants.
Are entrepreneurs in Kenya’s informal sector more likely to receive goods and services on credit when using mobile money? A new working paper says that mobile money can indirectly improve the welfare of non-business customers, so should be encouraged to help ensure financial inclusion and economic development.
These are just two questions tackled by our researchers in November 2021 — in five journal articles, two book chapters and one report, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
‘Metropolitan governance and environmental outcomes: does inter-municipal cooperation make a difference?’ is a systematic study testing the impact of cooperation in transportation on CO2 transport emissions. The study uses a novel dataset covering over 200 metropolitan areas in 16 OECD countries. The findings demonstrate that both fragmented and consolidated metropolitan governance structures are equally inefficient in delivering a reduction in CO2 transport emissions. Further, without functional enforcement mechanisms, mitigation policies fail to have a positive effect on environmental outcomes. Inter-municipal cooperation in metropolitan areas facilitates coherence and widespread enforcement and emerges as a crucial factor explaining the reduction of CO2 transport emissions. Effects of metropolitan cooperation on transportation are magnified by the presence of national environmental mitigation policies. By PhD candidate Victor Osei Kwadwo and Dr. Tatiana Skripka.
‘The relationship between economic growth and environment. Testing the EKC hypothesis for Latin American countries’ seeks to estimate the relationship between income and CO2 emissions per capita in 21 Latin American Countries (LACs) over 1960-2017. The EKC hypothesis effectively describes the long term income-emissions relationship only in a minority of LACs and, in many cases, the effect on CO2 emissions of different factors depends on the individual country experience and on the type and quantity of environmental policies adopted. Overall, these results call for increased environmental action in the region. By PhD candidate Cecilia Seri et al.
‘Financing universal social protection during COVID-19 and beyond: Investing more and better‘ argues that overcoming current social protection coverage and financing gaps requires not only investing more in social protection, but also investing better. This means ensuring that both the mobilisation and allocation of resources systematically allow for the establishment of universal, comprehensive, adequate and sustainable social protection systems, including floors, and that international financial and technical assistance is consistently geared towards unleashing domestic resources and capacities. By Dr. Mira Bierbaum et al.
‘The ideal neighbourhoods of successful ageing: A machine learning approach’ shows that generally the affordability of health facilities is a major determinant of life satisfaction, self-rated health condition and mental wellbeing for individuals in most age groups. Other important but age-specific determinants are neighbourhood safety and accessibility to cultural facilities and to green areas. In contrast, characteristics such as urbanity, transportation and air quality do not significantly influence ageing outcomes. These findings lend support to the resources theory in explaining ageing outcomes and suggest that more resources may have to be directed to improve the affordability and quality of health care services, the policing services and the accessibility to cultural and green areas in order to achieve more favourable ageing outcomes. By Dr. Pui-hang Wong et al.
‘Social networks, female unemployment, and the urban-rural divide in Turkey: Evidence from tree-based machine learning algorithms‘ takes a novel, algorithmic approach for understanding the underlying mechanisms related to the employment status of individuals. This study examines how social connectivity and location play a role in the prediction of employment status through the use of two tree-based modern machine learning techniques, namely random forest, and extreme gradient boosting. It presents a wide array of observations, with gender being the most prominent finding when periphery and rural locations are considered. By Dr. Mehmet Guney Celbis.
‘Next practices: Innovations in the COVID-19 social protection responses and beyond‘ aims to systematise the social protection innovations implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis, which can be leveraged to build more inclusive and sustainable systems in the medium and long term. This UNDP report shows that countries with more well-established social protection systems in place prior to the crisis were able to respond faster, but almost all countries required innovative practices to quickly deliver social protection to those usually excluded from benefits, such as informal-sector workers, refugees and migrants. Contriutions by PhD candidate Raquel Tebaldi et al.
‘Money matters: The role of funding in migration governance’ is a chapter in the book Money Matters in Migration: Policy, Participation, and Citizenship. The chapters in this book expose hidden and sometimes contradictory policy objectives, unwanted consequences, and inconsistent regulatory structures. The authors from a range of fields provide multiple perspectives on how money shapes decisions from all actors in migration trajectories, from micro to macro level. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the book draws on case studies from Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa. This comprehensive overview brings to light the deep global impacts money has on migration and citizenship. By Dr. Elaine Lebon-McGregor et al.
‘Coordination of different instruments’ discusses the importance and complexities of coordinating social protection systems. For coordination to work effectively, it needs to be organised on various dimensions. This requires robust legal, regulatory and policy frameworks that mandate coordination across relevant bodies, clearly assigning roles and responsibilities. Furthermore, strong institutional capacities and the necessary resources are imperative to ensure social protection interventions are well-coordinated at all levels of the public administration. By Dr. Mira Bierbaum et al.
‘Labour-saving automation and occupational exposure: A text-similarity measure’ represents one of the first attempts at building a direct measure of occupational exposure to robotic labour-saving technologies. This measure allows to obtain fine-grained information on tasks and occupations according to their similarity ranking. The paper then studies occupational exposure by wage and employment dynamics in the United States, complemented by investigating industry and geographical penetration rates. By Prof. Marco Vivarelli et al.
‘Is there job polarization in developing economies? A review and outlook’ analyses the evidence of job polarisation in developing countries. The paper suggests that job polarisation in emerging economies is only incipient compared to other advanced economies. It then examines the possible moderating aspects preventing job polarisation, discussing the main theoretical channels and the existing empirical literature. Finally, it presents the main gaps in the literature in developing economies and points to the need for more micro-level studies focusing on the impacts of technology adoption on workers’ careers and studies exploring the adoption and use of technologies at the firm level. By PhD candidate Antonio Soares Martins Neto, Dr. Nanditha Mathew, Prof. Pierre Mohnen and Dr. Tania Treibich.
‘COVID-19 in Central America: effects of firm resilience and policy responses on employment’ uses data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey to examine how firm-level resilience capabilities interact with government support in the reduction of lay-offs among formal firms in Central America. The paper finds that support policies play a marginal role among most groups, except in the dynamic resilient group, where receiving government support does shrink the probability of lay-offs. By PhD candidate Beatriz Calzada Olvera and Mario Gonzalez Sauri et al.
‘Mobile money adoption and entrepreneurs’ access to trade credit in the informal sector’ investigates the relationship between mobile money adoption and the probability to receive goods and services on credit from suppliers based on a sample of entrepreneurs who operate informal businesses. The paper further explores the effect of mobile money adoption on the likelihood to offer goods and services on credit to customers. The authors suggest that entrepreneurs with mobile money are more likely to receive goods and services on credit from suppliers. They also find a positive and significant relationship between mobile money adoption and the likelihood to offer goods and services on credit to customers. The evidence supports the promotion of mobile money adoption among entrepreneurs in the informal sector to facilitate access to credit. By PhD candidate Godsway Tetteh, Dr. Micheline Goedhuys, Dr. Maty Konte and Prof. Pierre Mohnen.
‘Wage effects of global value chains participation and position: An industry-level analysis’ examines how participation and positioning in global value chains (GVC) affect wages. The paper also examines whether this relationship is conditioned by a country’s development level and labour market regulation. The results show that participation and upstream specialisation in GVCs are associated with higher wages but only in developed countries. In developing countries, while GVC participation is associated with higher wages, upstream specialisation exerts downward pressure on wages. In developing countries, GVC participation only benefits higher wage earners and make low-wage earners worse-off. Even when upstream specialisation is associated with lower wages across all wage segments, low wage earners are disproportionately affected. By Dr. Gideon Ndubuisi and Dr. Solomon Owusu.
‘Financial development and small firms’ tax compliance in Sub-Saharan Africa’ explores the effect of financial development on small firms’ compliance with value-added tax, profit tax and local tax. The paper equally explores the mitigating impact of informal finance on financial development’s role in driving small firms’ tax compliance. To demonstrate this, we estimate a recursive trivariate probit model. The results show that financial development increases the likelihood of firms being tax compliant. In contrast, access to informal finance decreases that likelihood. It also emerges that the lower the taxes, the greater the effects of low costs of banks on tax compliance. Another finding is that informal finance mitigates the effect of financial development on small firms’ tax compliance. By Dr. Racky Balde.
‘Global dynamics of Gini coefficients of education for 146 countries updated to 1950-2015‘ updates the Gini coefficients of education to include the year 2015, added to the Barro‐ Lee data set recently. A panel analysis shows that every five years education inequality falls by 2.8 percentage points. A stable average value is predicted to be 0.22. Kernel densities loose their twin peaks when going from 1955 to later years. By Dr. Thomas Ziesemer.
‘How education and GDP drive the COVID-19 vaccination campaign‘ identifies a variety of factors playing a crucial role including the availability of vaccines, pandemic pressures, economic strength (GDP), educational development and political regimes. Examining the speed of vaccinations across countries, this paper finds that initially authoritarian countries are slow in the vaccination process, while education is most relevant for scaling up the campaign and financial strength of the economies drive them to higher vaccination rates. By Prof. Klaus F. Zimmermann et al.
‘Public sector innovation in the United Arab Emirates: How innovation occurs and what outcomes it delivers’ represents the first quantitative study on innovation within the public sector performed in the “Arab World”, more particularly, in the United Arab Emirates. This dissertation collected its own data through a survey launched in the UAE public sector, and uses this data to provide analysis from two angles: knowledge of innovation outcomes and knowledge of collaborative innovation. The first aim provides a new layer of analysis through examining the relationship between the different characteristics, activities, and processes that are correlated with innovation outcomes. The second aim expands understanding of collaborative innovation in the public sector, mainly through analysing the motivations driving managers to source ideas from outside their organisations. By Dr. Rafael Lemaitre Carabias.
‘Towards e-compliance: Exploring the role of compliance and e-governance initiatives in the case of Bhutan’ identifies compliance as a conduit and part of mechanism to explain the phenomena of e-governance implementation which aims to control corruption. Building on the identified gaps between the case study initiatives and literature and in recognition of the lack of appropriate compliance models, this dissertation proposes a new conceptual framework of e-compliance which integrates technology with organisational, leadership and social compliance drivers in e-governance implementation. By Dr. Atsuko Okuda.
‘The negotiations of Zambia’s welfare regime: The transformative potential of social cash transfers’ provides fine-grained empirical insights into the complex negotiations of Zambia’s welfare regime. Specifically, this dissertation examines the decision-making processes about who should receive social cash transfers, who should not, and why. It argues that in order to transform poverty, development and reform initiatives need to take account of local power relations and values of social justice, expose the clashes of beliefs, and convince local actors of the desirability of change. In short, interventions need to embrace a transformative, or political, approach. By Dr. Maria Klara Kuss.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
UN Women / A. Roy-Chowdhury