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  • 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: 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: 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: Jacob N. Shapiro, Natalie Thompson, Alicia Wanless
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Research on influence operations requires effective collaboration across industry and academia. Federally funded research and development centers provide a compelling model for multi-stakeholder collaboration among those working to counter influence operations. Research on influence operations requires effective collaboration across industry and academia. Social media platforms are on the front lines of combating influence operations and possess a wealth of unique data and insights. Academics have rigorous training in research methods and relevant theories, and their independence lends credibility to their findings. The skills and knowledge of both groups are critical to answering important questions about influence operations and ultimately finding more effective ways to counter them. Despite shared interest in studying and addressing influence operations, existing institutions do not provide the proper structures and incentives for cross-sector collaboration. Friction between industry and academia has stymied collaboration on a range of important questions such as how influence operations spread, what effects they have, and what impact potential interventions could have. Present arrangements for research collaboration remain ad hoc, small-scale, and nonstandard across platforms and academic institutions. Federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) provide a compelling model for multi-stakeholder collaboration among those working to counter influence operations. Federally funded research institutions—such as the RAND Corporation, the Institute for Defense Analyses, or the MITRE Corporation—have hosted successful cross-sector collaboration between the federal government and academic institutions for more than seventy years. Academic and industry researchers should seek funding and create an analogous institution so the influence operations research community can further collaborative research on shared interests that cannot be addressed with existing models. Drawing from such models, industry would be a primary funder, but governments and philanthropic donors could also contribute to encourage independence and balance.
  • Topic: Development, Academia, Influence
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Ulrich Schetter
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: In this paper, we develop a heterogeneous agent general equilibrium framework to analyze optimal joint policies of a lockdown and transfer payments in times of a pandemic. In our model, the effectiveness of a lockdown in mitigating the pandemic depends on endogenous compliance. A more stringent lockdown deepens the recession which implies that poorer parts of society find it harder to subsist. This reduces their compliance with the lockdown, and may cause deprivation of the very poor, giving rise to an excruciating trade-off between saving lives from the pandemic and from deprivation. Lump-sum transfers help mitigate this trade-off. We identify and discuss key trade-offs involved and provide comparative statics for optimal policy. We show that, ceteris paribus, the optimal lockdown is stricter for more severe pandemics and in richer countries. We then consider a government borrowing constraint and show that limited fiscal space lowers the optimal lockdown and welfare, and increases the aggregate death burden during the pandemic. We finally discuss distributional consequences and the political economy of fighting a pandemic.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Political Economy, Inequality, Economic Growth, Fiscal Policy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Steven E. Finkel, Aníbal Pérez-Liñán, Michael Neureiter, Chris A. Belasco
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper updates our earlier work on the impact of US foreign assistance on democratic outcomes in recipient countries using newly available USAID Foreign Aid Explorer data covering the 2001–2014 period, as well as new outcome measures derived from Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) data. Building on the theoretical and empirical framework established in our previous study and in subsequent work in the field, we estimate: a) the effect of overall USAID Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG) expenditures on general indices of democracy, b) changes in the effects of DRG expenditures after 2001, and c) the conditions that moderate the impact of DRG funding at the country level in the contemporary era. We find that the effect of DRG expenditures decreased dramatically in the 2002–2014 period, relative to the modest effect shown in the previous study for the period immediately following the end of the Cold War. However, DRG aid remains effective in the current era under favorable conditions. Further analysis demonstrates important conditional effects related to patterns of DRG investment, such that aid has greater impact when levels of security assistance are low (indicating competing priorities) and when prior DRG investment is low (indicating diminishing returns). In addition, DRG is more effective at intermediate levels of democratization and less so in contexts of democratic backsliding.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Globalization, Governance, Democracy, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America