Do countries’ research priorities match their SDG challenges? Will science and technology inequalities prove a barrier to success? A new policy brief argues that funders, donors and international organisations should review their research priorities — by consulting with a wider range of stakeholders and assessing the unequal impacts on society of research itself.
Can social protection policies improve the educational achievements, as well as the mental and physical health, of immigrant students? A new article based on research conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlights the need for a broader understanding of academic resilience — an understanding that recognises the physical and psychosocial issues among immigrants, which are typically not captured by large-scale assessments.
These are just two questions tackled by our researchers in October 2021 — in eight journal articles, six working papers, and two PhD dissertations, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
‘Digital technologies, innovation, and skills: Emerging trajectories and challenges’ seeks to improve our understanding of the coevolution between the trajectories of connected digital technologies, firm innovation routines, and skills formation. This is critical as organisations recombine and adapt digital technologies; they require new skills to innovate, learn, and adapt to evolving digital technologies, while digital technologies change the codification of knowledge for productive and innovative activities. The coevolution between digital technologies, innovation, and skills also requires, and is driven by, a reorganisation of productive and innovation processes, both within and between firms. The article suggests that we might require a new set of stylised facts to better map the main future trajectories of digital technologies, their adoption, use, and recombination in organisations, to improve our understanding of their impact on productivity, employment and inequality. By Dr. Tommaso Ciarli et al.
‘Renewable energy consumption, globalization and economic growth shocks: Evidence from G7 countries’ examines the asymmetric responses of renewable energy (RE) technology to globalisation and economic growth shocks across the G7 countries using the Nonlinear Cointegrating Auto-Regressive Distributed Lag (NARDL) model. The article indicates asymmetries across these countries and shows that positive shocks on globalisation increase RE in Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US) while negative shocks decrease RE. By Dr. Gideon Ndubuisi et al.
‘Economic activity, and financial and commodity markets’ shocks: An analysis of implied volatility indexes’ examines the nature of relationship between real economic activity, and the stock and gold market volatility shocks. The article finds asymmetries in the short- and long-term relationships among these variables. The causality tests indicate a feedback effect between real economic activity shocks and these market volatility indexes, except for the gold market. The spillover analysis suggests a stronger integration among the partial sums, with the energy market as the dominant net-transmitter of both positive and negative shocks while the gold market is a net-receiver of shocks. By Dr. Gideon Ndubuisi et al.
‘Do gender wage differences within households influence women’s empowerment and welfare? Evidence from Ghana’ examines the effect of gender wage differences within households on women’s empowerment in Ghana. Reduction in household gender wage gap significantly enhances women’s empowerment. A decline in household gender wage gap improves household welfare. The improvement in household welfare is higher for women headed households. These findings showcase the need to vigorously adopt policies that both increase the quantity and quality of jobs for women and address gender barriers that inhibit women from accessing these jobs opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. By Dr. Solomon Owusu et al.
‘Local characterization of the COVID-19 response: the case of a lockdown in Lusaka, Zambia‘ explores and documents the local characterisations of the lockdown by residents of Lusaka, Zambia. The lockdown was on one hand lauded for slowing down the incidence rates, preventing fatalities, and protecting the healthcare system from collapse. On the other hand, it was criticised for exacerbating poverty levels, unemployment rates, increasing the rate of mental health problems, aiding gender-based violence, and intensifying political repression and corruption. The results speak to the complexity in the characterisation of the lockdown as a response to COVID-19 in Lusaka, Zambia. By Dr. Choolwe Muzyamba.
‘MeToo and sexual violence among women in Zambia’ investigates the relevance of the MeToo movement as a tool for responding to sexual violence among women in Zambia. The findings demonstrate the diversity of how this movement is locally viewed and also illustrates the complexity and multidimensionality of how it is characterised in Zambia. The article argues against a ‘one-size-fits-all’ understanding and characterisation of the MeToo movement. By Dr. Choolwe Muzyamba.
‘Immigrant student resilience: Policy directions for a post-COVID world’ discusses the importance of social protection and education policies that help mediate achievement gaps as well as the prominent mental and physical health challenges disproportionately faced by immigrant students. Recent research conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing necessity of broader notions of academic resilience that recognise important psychosocial and physical well-being issues among immigrants, which are typically not captured by large-scale assessment measures. The article outlines a range of possible policy directions in a post-COVID-19 world. By Dr. Louis Volante, Prof. Melissa Siegel et al.
‘Confronting the challenge of immigrant and refugee student underachievement: A comparative analysis of education policies and programs in Canada, New Zealand, and England’ provides a synthesis of trends from education policies and programmes that appear to be associated with more favourable immigrant student achievement outcomes, highlighting three international jurisdictions: Canada, New Zealand, and England. This comparative analysis identifies key features of these education systems that have been associated with the success of their immigrant students. The article concludes with a critical view on simple policy borrowing and call for contextually responsive adaptation of promising policies and programmes within distinct education systems. By Dr. Louis Volante, Prof. Melissa Siegel et al.
‘The impacts of COVID-19 on a labour mobility scheme: The case of migration between Tunisia and Germany in the context of the THAMM programme’ presents insights into the way that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected one specific labour mobility pilot project, Towards a Holistic Approach to Labour Migration Governance and Labour Mobility in North Africa (THAMM), from the onset of the pandemic until the spring of 2021. The report allows to understand the challenges that the different actors faced due to the global pandemic and how they worked, in many cases together, to solve them. The report highlights the importance of integration support measures as a component of labour mobility schemes and to work closely with employers to identify gaps and/or where additional support is required to provide participants with the needed integration support from the onset. By Dr. Katrin Marchand and Sarah Roeder.
‘Connecting Diaspora for Development 2 (CD4D2) mid-term report’ summarises the main findings of the interviews conducted with host institution staff between March and August 2021 as part of the mid-term evaluation of the Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) 2 Project. The purpose of this mid-term study is to identify the experiences of host institutions to date with CD4D2. It also provides an overview of the progress until mid-July 2021. The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected the CD4D2 project as well as the data collection for the evaluation. The main findings highlight the host institutions’ experiences with CD4D2, with regards to the diaspora experts’ tasks, knowledge staffed gained, and outputs and impacts of CD4D2 and discuss the experiences of participants with CD4D2. By PhD candidate Charlotte Mueller, Soha Youssef and Dr. Katherine Kuschminder.
‘Acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines in sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from six national phone surveys’ provides cross-country comparable estimates of the willingness to accept a COVID-19 vaccine in six sub-Saharan African countries. The paper uses data from six national high-frequency phone surveys in countries representing 38 percent of the sub-Saharan African population (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, and Uganda). The findings show acceptance rates to be generally high, with at least four in five people willing to be vaccinated in all but one country. They suggest that limited supply, not inadequate demand, likely presents the key bottleneck to reaching high COVID-19 vaccine coverage in sub-Saharan Africa. By PhD candidate Yannick Valentin Markhof et al.
‘Overcoming a legacy of racial discrimination: Competing policy goals in South African academia’ hones in on a key enabler of transformation, the university system. This paper uses computer simulations, calibrated with evidence from South Africa since the end of Apartheid. The simulations reveal very few direct trade-offs, although different combinations result in different benefits. By highlighting the (larger and smaller) gains and costs of different combinations of policies, the paper can therefore support informed policy-making about a highly complex issue. By Prof. Robin Cowan et al.
‘The political geography of cities’ studies the link between subnational capital cities and urban development using a global data set of hundreds of first-order administrative and capital city reforms from 1987 until 2018. The paper shows that gaining subnational capital status has a sizable effect on city growth in the medium run. The authors provide new evidence that the effect of these reforms depends on locational fundamentals, such as market access, and that the effect is greater in countries where urbanization and industrialisation occurred later. Consistent with both an influx of public investments and a private response of individuals and firms, the paper documents that urban built-up, population, foreign aid, infrastructure, and foreign direct investment in several sectors increase once cities become subnational capitals. By Dr. Richard Bluhm et al.
‘Demand-led industrialisation policy in a dual-sector small balance of payments constrained economy’ models the process of structural transformation and catching-up in a demand-led Southern economy constrained by its balance of payments. Starting from the Sraffian Supermultiplier Model, the study models a dual-sector small open economy divided between traditional and modern sectors that interacts with a technologically advanced Northern economy. The authors propose two (alternative) autonomous elements that define the growth rate of this demand-led economy: government spending and exports. Autonomous government spending plays a central role in stimulating demand, and thus is a source of growth of the modern sector. Productivity adjusts to the growth rate of output, given by the growth rate of autonomous expenditure. Drawing from the Structuralist literature, the technologically laggard Southern economy catches up by absorbing technology from the Northern economy, potentially closing the technology gap. The gap affects the income elasticity of exports, bringing a supply-side mediation to the growth rates in line with the Balance of Payments Constrained Model. Th authors observe that a demand-led government policy plays a central role in structural change, pushing the modern sector to a take-off. Also, the economy is stable in terms of capacity utilisation and modern sector employment. By Dr. Önder Nomaler, Dr. Danilo Spinola and Prof. Bart Verspagen.
‘Does commonness fill the common fund? Experimental evidence on the role of identity for public good contributions in India’ examines how the type of common identity affects voluntary contribution to public goods in groups that differ in their social image. The paper shows that stereotyped groups fail to act collectively to provide public goods, possibly due to lack of trust towards their own group members. This gap disappears after the role model priming treatment and reaffirms the role of social identity in explaining the difference in contributions between groups that differ in the social image. By PhD candidate Bruhan Konda, Dr. Stephan Dietrich and Prof. Eleonora Nillesen.
‘The impact of research independence on PhD students’ careers: Large-scale evidence from France’ investigates the effect of research independence during the PhD period on students’ career outcomes. The paper finds that the student thesis’s similarity with her supervisor’s research work is negatively associated with starting a career in academia and patenting probability. However, conditional on starting an academic career, PhD-supervisor similarity is associated with a higher student’s productivity after graduation as measured by citations received, network size, and probability of moving to a foreign or US-based affiliation. By Dr. Fabiana Visentin et al.
‘Examination of internal incoherence in European policies in the field of migration’ examines policy documents and policy communication from the EU and Member States in the broad field of migration in order to identify internal incoherence. Drafted a decade apart, the 2011 Global Approach to Migration and Mobility and the 2020 New Pact on Migration and Asylum demonstrate a clear shift in European migration policy. This paper examines how the concept of policy (in)coherence has played a part in this, and whether its meaning and aims changed over time. By Dr. Elaine Lebon-McGregor et al.
‘Economic effects of remittances on migrants’ country of origin’ reviews the economic effects of remittances on migrants’ countries of origin, focusing specifically on how the receipts of remittances shape norms, consumption, investment and inequality at the household level, and how these household-level impacts shape country-level outcomes. The review of household-level studies identifies overall positive effects of remittances on consumption more generally, and on durable goods specifically for the not-too-poor households; they also demonstrate positive effects on households’ agricultural production, household expenditures on education and physical capital investment and entrepreneurial activities. Much in line with the findings from household studies, the macroeconomic studies demonstrate generally positive effects of remittances on poverty reduction, living standards, health and education expenditures and improving institutions. Both household and macro-level studies suggest mixed results related to the impact of remittances on inequality, however, and macro studies demonstrate particularly mixed and even negative direct effects of remittances on economic growth. By Dr. Thomas Ziesemer and Dr. Michaella Vanore.
‘Research priorities may not align with the SDGs: Policy suggestions to steer them‘ shows that countries’ research priorities do not always align with their SDG challenges, which may hinder their capabilities to address them. This policy brief argues that funders, donors and international organisations should steer research priorities, including by consulting with a wider range of stakeholders and improving the assessment of research’s (unequal) impact on societies. By Dr. Tommaso Ciarli, Dr. Hugo Confraria et al.
‘Essays on international trade: The roles of institutions and imported intermediate inputs’ suggest that national policies and institutions matter for crossborder trade, but that sector characteristics and a country’s idiosyncrasies can either reinforce or attenuate the effects of policies and institutions on trade. By Dr. Gideon Ndubuisi.
‘Powering structural transformation and economic development in Africa: the role of services, manufacturing and global value chains’ focuses on structural transformation and economic development in Africa, by examining the contributions of services, manufacturing and global value chains. This dissertation draws heavily on important theories in development economics and macro-level data for a representative sample of countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that together contributes about 80 percent of the total economic output of the region to study structural change or lack thereof, in African countries and its implications for economic development in the region. By Dr. Solomon Owusu.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
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