The mandatory courses are offered from early September to the end of January and are made up of 4 parallel courses for which an average grade of 7.5 is mandatory for the succession into year 2. The UNU-MERIT courses have 6 ECTS each and reflect the core areas of research carried out at the Institute. The content of the courses may slightly change from one year to another, as research topics and composition of the staff evolve over time. The following courses are currently offered.
- Economics of Innovation and New Technologies
- Socio-economic Development
Course coordinators: Prof. Dr. Neil Foster-McGregor, Dr. Tommaso Ciarli & Prof. Dr. Bart Verspagen
The two courses on socio-economic development and the economics of innovation and new technology – though formally separate courses and separately graded – are presented here as an integrated whole of two topics because of the close linkages between the topics that they cover, and the opportunities that this offers to define a “UNU-MERIT” signature to the course.
The courses are delivered by three teachers, each active in both courses. As the courses run in parallel, each week presents two topics (one from each course). The courses aim to provide a deep understanding of the role of innovation and technological change in driving socio-economic development in the broadest sense. While many academic debates consider developing and developed countries to be best analyzed in separate ways, this course argues that because of the many common factors that underlie development, specifically technological change and innovation, the broad joint perspective adopted in this course offers important lessons.
The courses are split into two parts. The first four weeks will focus on developing an understanding of what is meant by socio-economic development and of particular approaches to consider the role of innovation and technological progress in socio-economic development. A particular focus will be on evolutionary and systems perspectives on innovation and technology, along with the development of a historical narrative on the position of innovation in long-run development. The second part of the course will build upon these foundations to consider relevant topics and ongoing debates regarding the role of innovation and technology in socio-economic development. These topics will cover such issues as trade, structural transformation, geography and institutions, examining how they are driven by and link to innovation and technological change, and how they impact on different dimensions of socio-economic development.
|Economics of Innovation and New Technologies
|Systems and evolutionary economics
|A tale of a (capitalistic) economic system
|Steady state growth and innovation
|Properties of innovation (as an evolutionary process)
|An economic history of technological progress
|Technological paradigms, trajectories and regimes
|What is (socio)-economic development and how is it linked to innovation and technological change
|Structural Change and Structural Transformation
|Innovation and production capabilities
|Industrial dynamics/organisation interactions and networks
|Trade, GVCs, FDI and (socio)-economic development
|Premature deindustrialisation and servicification
|Technological change, structural change and inequality/inclusion
|Geography, institutions and development
|Industrial and innovation policies for sustainable development
Inequality and Social Protection
Course coordinators: Prof. Dr. Franziska Gassmann and Dr. Bruno Martorano
While the world has made a lot of progress in reducing poverty, recent crises seem to have turned the fate for many vulnerable households and individuals across the globe. From a purely welfarist perspective, poverty is understood as a lack of income to make ends meet. It starts from the presumption that individual utility determines well-being and that well-being is expressed in the level of income (or consumption). The welfarist approach assumes that households have preferences and they are expressed in what they consume and that this choice gives them the highest utility they can possibly achieve. The non-welfarist point of view claims that the focus on money neglects other aspects that are equally important for well-being, such as the fulfilment of basic needs, access to social services, command over commodities, or the capabilities to function and the freedom of living the life one wants. From this starting point the participants embark on a discussion comparing traditional ‘monetary’ poverty with other approaches such as multidimensional poverty in order to understand how progress in human development can be assessed. The latter directly brings us to causes and consequences of poverty and destitution.
After decades of neglect, inequality is now front and center of the research and political debate. This is the response to increases in income and wealth disparities observed in several developed and developing countries. This course provides students with information on the recent evolution of inequality around the world. It starts by summarizing patterns and trends of disparities in the rich economies and then provides a brief overview of recent trends in developing countries (that have not received enough attention in the recent literature). The course also emphasizes that inequality has many dimensions that in some cases intersect producing and reproducing initial disparities. Finally, this course discusses the challenges of measuring inequality and tries to identify policies that can be successfully implemented to deal with high or rising inequalities.
The second part of the course focuses on public policies governments have at their disposal to redistribute income and wealth and, thereby, reduce poverty and inequality.
Course coordinator: Prof. Dr. Eleonora Nillesen
How do we know whether (public) policies or programs work for development? For example, does job training improve labour market outcomes? Or, do cash transfers affect children’s health outcomes? Which policies are cost-effective? And how do we measure accurate and reliable outcomes? Answers to these issues helps to better design and target new programs and policies. The main objective of the course is to build problem solving and research skills for evidence-based interventions and policies, with a focus on developing and transition economies.
Students will learn the basic intuition behind (quasi)-experimental designs including RCTs, DID, PSM, and review assumptions and criteria for the validity of each of these approaches. They will gain experience in deciding which approach(es) are most appropriate for a given research question and context. We will draw on several empirical applications in class and learn about challenges and potential pitfalls in conducting successful impact evaluations in practice. Tutorials will help familiarize with analyzing quantitative datasets to assess the impact of a policy or program using (quasi-)experimental methods.
UM Mandatory courses
UM attaches great value to Research Ethics & Integrity, Open Science and Impact & Science Communication. Therefore, UM aims at preparing PhD fellows well as a researcher of the future. For that purpose UM has set up a Graduate School Training programme and added it as a compulsory element to your PhD programme by offering three online training courses on the above subjects.