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  • Author: Katharina Krings, Jakob Schwab
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: While blockchain technology (BT) has gained a great deal of publicity for its use in cryptocurrencies, another area of BT application has emerged away from the public eye, namely supply chains. Due to the increasing fragmentation and globalisation of supply chains in recent years, many products have to pass through countless production steps worldwide (from raw material extraction to the point of sale). Ensuring the quality and sustainability of production in preceding steps is a major challenge for many firms and thus, ultimately, also for the consumer. BT offers potential for achieving significant progress on this front. Put simply, the blockchain makes it possible to verify data decentralised within a network, store it in a tamper-proof and traceable format and make it accessible to all members of a network.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Cryptocurrencies, Sustainability, Blockchain
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniele Malerba
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: To avoid catastrophic effects on natural and human systems, bold action needs to be taken rapidly to mitigate climate change. Despite this urgency, the currently implemented and planned climate mitigation policies are not sufficient to meet the global targets set in Paris in 2015. One reason for their current inadequate rollout is their perceived negative distributional effects: by increasing the price of goods, climate mitigation policies may increase both poverty and inequality. In addition, they may disrupt labour markets and increase unemployment, especially in sectors and areas dependent on fossil fuels. As a result, public protests in many countries have so far blocked or delayed the implementation of climate policies.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Policy Implementation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mario Negre
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: With inequality reduction now being officially and broadly recognised as a key development objective with its own Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 10), there is a need for simple, economical and quick methodologies with which to focus on this area and assess progress. This paper presents such a methodology, which allows a rough assessment of the potential impacts of development cooperation on income, consumption and wealth inequality. This is important, as a rigorous causal analysis of the contribution development cooperation makes to reducing a partner country’s inequality is complex and costly. First, the relative contribution of targeted development cooperation programmes and projects to the economies of partner countries tends to be small (though admittedly not in all cases). Second, a myriad of factors contribute to changes in inequality in any given country, and assessing the impact of all of them is a complex, imprecise, time-consuming and resource-intensive exercise.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Inequality, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Max Otto Baumann
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: There is a case to be made for greater transparency of the United Nations’ (UN) development work at the country level. Transparency can, in the simplest terms, be defined as the quality of being open to public scrutiny. Despite improvements in recent years, UN organisations still only partially meet this standard. Only the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and, with limitations, the World Food Programme (WFP) systematically publish basic project parameters such as project documents, funding data and evaluations. Others do not even publish project lists. Only the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) publishes evaluations – a key source on performance – in an easily accessible way next to programme or project information. Lack of project transparency constitutes not only a failure to operate openly in an exemplary way, as should be expected of the UN as a public institution with aspirations to play a leadership role in global development. It also undermines in very practical ways the development purposes that UN organisations were set up for: It reduces their accountability to the stakeholders they serve, including executive boards and local actors; it hampers the coordination of aid activities across and beyond the UN; and it undermines the learning from both successes and failures.
  • Topic: Development, United Nations, Transparency, World Food Program (WFP)
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Pablo Yanguas
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Development practitioners learn, their organisations not so much. In this paper, Pablo Yanguas finds little evidence for the “learning hypothesis” that knowledge makes development agencies more effective. As we near 2030, the role of M&E, research, and adaptive approaches may need to be reassessed.
  • Topic: Development, Management
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ryan Lasnick
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: This report analyses the size, scale and persistence of national development banks and offers ten clear observations and conclusions of the role of NDBs for the achievement of sustainable development globally. The Executive Summary can be found here. This report analyzes NDBs top down and bottom up. Top down, it includes the most recent data on the number of NDBs along with their total assets and annual disbursements. Bottom up, we conduct systematic case studies of various development bank ecosystems, including those of India, Brazil, China, South Africa, Germany and the US, to begin analyzing their role in the national development bank economy.
  • Topic: Development, Sustainability, Banking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Petar Jolakoski, Branimir Jovanovic, Joana Madjoska, Viktor Stojkoski, Dragan Tevdovski
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: If firm profits rise to a level far above than what would have been earned in a competitive economy, this might give the firms market power, which might in turn influence the activity of the government. In this paper, we perform a detailed empirical study on the potential effects of firm profits and markups on government size and effectiveness. Using data on 30 European countries for a period of 17 years and an instrumental variables approach, we find that there exists a robust relationship between firm gains and the activity of the state, in the sense that higher firm profits reduce government size and effectiveness. Even in a group of developed countries, such as the European countries, firm power may affect state activity.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, International Political Economy, Profit
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Marie Ladekjær Gravesen, Mikkel Funder
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to climate- and development-related challenges have recently gained attention in development cooperation. Among other, approaches that fall under the NbS umbrella include Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA), Ecosystem-based Mitigation (EbM) and Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR). This new DIIS Working Paper focuses on nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation, EbA. It provides an overview of selected lessons learnt from EbA in the context of development cooperation, with a particular emphasis on the opportunities and risks regarding poverty alleviation and rights. It generates learning for Danish development cooperation, including future programming under Denmark’s 2021 development strategy, in which NbS approaches are emphasised. However, the paper can also be read as a general discussion of experiences with EbA in the development context. The three-legged EbA approach focuses on human well-being, ecosystem management, and climate change adaptation. EbA has already been applied to a range of ecosystems, including the restoration of mangroves to shield them against storm and sea-level rises, the management of watersheds to protect against droughts and flooding, the management of rangelands to inhibit desertification and land degradation, and more sustainably managed fisheries and forestry to tackle food insecurity. EbA thus not only addresses the restoration of already degraded ecosystems, but also the sustainable use, management, and conservation of intact ecosystems. The paper provides a conceptual overview of EbA in relation to NbS, outlines the potential in using EbA approaches, and describes the landscape of the institutions and agencies that fund, promote and implement EbA. The paper then provides a synthesis of lessons learned from PES and REDD+ schemes that are of relevance to EbA. For instance, it is emphasised that many REDD+ measures have effectively existed as project islands that were not anchored in national or subnational planning and governance mechanisms. As a result, the conservation activities and socioeconomic benefits were often not effectively integrated or scaled up beyond small project sites. If comprehensively implemented, the EbA approach builds on these experiences by insuring full inclusion of stakeholders from all relevant sectors, as well as demanding full integration in existing policies, planning and governance practices from the ministry levels to sub-national governments. Among the final recommendations and possible entry points for Danish development cooperation, the paper highlights that the support must have a strong focus on ensuring that EbA is pro-poor (i.e. supports poverty alleviation) and rights-based (i.e. supports the rights of local resource users). Experience from EbA and related efforts show that EbA is not automatically pro-poor or supportive of local rights to natural resources and ecosystem services. In particular, there is insufficient attention to and knowledge of rights issues in EbA. Therefore, Danish development cooperation should help lead the way in ensuring that EbA takes a rights-based approach and supports poverty alleviation.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Environment, Poverty, Natural Resources, Water, Food, Governance, Inequality, Investment, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Anton Korinek, Joseph E. Stiglitz
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Progress in artificial intelligence and related forms of automation technologies threatens to reverse the gains that developing countries and emerging markets have experienced from integrating into the world economy over the past half century, aggravating poverty and inequality. The new technologies have the tendency to be labor-saving, resource-saving, and to give rise to winner-takes-all dynamics that advantage developed countries. We analyze the economic forces behind these developments and describe economic policies that would mitigate the adverse effects on developing and emerging economies while leveraging the potential gains from technological advances. We also describe reforms to our global system of economic governance that would share the benefits of AI more widely with developing countries.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, Science and Technology, Inequality, Artificial Intelligence, Redistribution
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elise Remling, Amar Causevic
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are the central instrument for states to communicate their con­tribution to the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change and reflect their wider approach to climate mitigation and adaptation. This SIPRI Insights paper analyses how the 2020 updated NDCs (16 submissions as of October 2020) discuss climate-related security risks and compares them with 2015. It finds that climate change is mainly seen as a risk to socio-economic development and human security and almost never as a risk to societal stability or the functioning of the state. The assessment of risks in NDCs largely focuses on direct climate impacts. This suggests that countries are currently not considering the risks from indirect climate impacts, including those that cross national borders, or the unintended adverse con­sequences of adaptation or mitigation responses. Going forward, countries will need to take account of the multi­faceted and transboundary character of climate risks in their NDCs in order to meet global expectations and goals.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Development, Risk, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lant Pritchett
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: The enthusiasm for the potential of RCTs in development rests in part on the assumption that the use of the rigorous evidence that emerges from an RCT (or from a small set of studies identified as rigorous in a “systematic” review) leads to the adoption of more effective policies, programs or projects. However, the supposed benefits of using rigorous evidence for “evidence based” policy making depend critically on the extent to which there is external validity. If estimates of causal impact or treatment effects that have internal validity (are unbiased) in one context (where the relevant “context” could be country, region, implementing organization, complementary policies, initial conditions, etc.) cannot be applied to another context then applying evidence that is rigorous in one context may actually reduce predictive accuracy in other contexts relative to simple evidence from that context—even if that evidence is biased (Pritchett and Sandefur 2015). Using empirical estimates from a large number of developing countries of the difference in student learning in public and private schools (just as one potential policy application) I show that commonly made assumptions about external validity are, in the face of the actual observed heterogeneity across contexts, both logically incoherent and empirically unhelpful. Logically incoherent, in that it is impossible to reconcile general claims about external validity of rigorous estimates of causal impact and the heterogeneity of the raw facts about differentials. Empirically unhelpful in that using a single (or small set) of rigorous estimates to apply to all other actually leads to a larger root mean square error of prediction of the “true” causal impact across contexts than just using the estimates from non-experimental data from each country. In the data about private and public schools, under plausible assumptions, an exclusive reliance on the rigorous evidence has RMSE three times worse than using the biased OLS result from each context. In making policy decisions one needs to rely on an understanding of the relevant phenomena that encompasses all of the available evidence.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus