» Archive for: August, 2013

HowardWe have had 11 students following the double degree programme in the context of the collaboration between the University of Indonesia and the ISS. It is the second largest batch of double degree students the ECD programme has had since the collaboration with UI began.  I am happy to say that all of them have passed their coursework. Six have already returned to Indonesia and the remainder, will do so shortly after traveling around in Europe for a few days. 

This batch of double degree students, like those before it, have worked hard and in a collaborative manner. I was never in doubt that all of you would finish your research papers on time, even if you had to risk your health to do so. I am confident that all these papers will meet the required standard and that the whole group will be graduating in January/February of next year. I hope that at least one ECD staff member will be present at your graduation ceremony in Indonesia.

I would like to thank all ECD academic and support staff, especially Marja Zubli, for the considerable amount of work they have put in to help you over the course of your period of study at the ISS. On their behalf I would like to wish all of you much success and happiness in your future. As always, we would like you to stay in touch with us so that we can follow your lives and careers.

Howard Nicholas is a Convenor of the ECD Programme, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam


ECD-Double Degree participants of 2012/13 closing ceremony

















Enjoying a small snack and a drink

enjoying a drink and a small snack_1enjoying a drink and a small snack














Non-DD ECD students saying goodbye to their classmates

Non_DD ECD students saying goodbye to their classmates









FreekDear participants in the UI/ISS Double Degree Programme,

Dear colleagues,

Dear friends,

Welcome to this small closing ceremony for the ECD-Double Degree participants of 2012-2013.

Let me start by first congratulating you with your mere presence here today. I understand that the deadline for the submission of your Research Paper was just three-and-half-hour ago! If you are like I was in my student days, you will not have slept at all last night, and only very few hours in the previous nights. So I should not hold lengthy, boring speeches, that will put you all to sleep. But a festive occasion like this cannot pass without a few words.

You are already the sixth cohort in the Double Degree programme, having successfully completed the graduate programme of the Fakultas Ekonomi of the Universitas Indonesia AND the MA here at the ISS, Majoring in Economics of Development. Soon the sixth cohort of Double Degree students will come from Indonesia and the Programme goes from strength to strength after its start in 2007. We are expecting some 18 students!

You could have pursued a double degree in the United States, Australia or Japan, yet you choose the Netherlands. And here you had the choice to go to Groningen or Amsterdam, you choose to come to the ISS. I would say these were perfect choices!  But I hope you do not regret that choice and that, now that you have arrived at the end of your programme here , you can look back not only with joy, but also with pride. Pride because you have survived, nay, mastered what really is a demanding programme. Your lecturers might be nice and friendly persons, they are also very strict and tough, challenging you to give your best.

The past 12 months were definitively not a relaxing experience. And I do hope that upon return no-one will ask you: tell me, how was your holiday in Holland? Despite the many demands we made on you, I do hope you will look back at your stay in ISS with positive feelings. If I am well informed you all did well in your course work, and you passed for that part of the programme. Now the jury is out to give a verdict on your Research Paper.

Professor Nachrowi was here when you presented your drafts and although he gave critical comments (as a good academic always should do) I am confident that his critical remarks were constructive and that you were able to build on the advice given by him and your own supervisors and produce a paper that will stand the test, not so much of time, but the test of your RP examiners. Indeed I have to ask for your indulgence and give us some six weeks to grade your paper and have that grade confirmed by the external examiner of ECD. 

If your Research Paper is of sufficient quality and thus you will also passed the requirements of the ISS MA Degree,  your final double degrees will be handed over in a ceremony in the University of Indonesia, somewhere early next year. However, we don’t want you to leave empty-handed and I am glad to provide you with a preliminary transcript, indicating your results in the course work here at ISS.

We then will proceed the second part of the small graduation ceremony: the reception where you can receive the congratulations from your friends enjoying a drink and a small snack.


Dr. Freek Schiphorst is a Deputy Rector for Educational Affairs, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam

RockfeelerFoundationsLatin America has a long history of conflict engendered by the capturability of extractable natural resources. With the election of Correa in Ecuador and Morales in Bolivia, the impact of left-leaning politicians implementing policies increasing the states’ presence in extractive industries (‘nationalisation’ in various guises) can now be observed in the ways hydrocarbons and mineral resources are implicated in social conflict as well as co-operation. This workshop concerns the ongoing “Nationalization of Extractive Industries, Conflict and Cooperation in Bolivia and Ecuador” (NEBE, http://proyecto-nebe.org) project which explores the processes and outcomes of nationalization of extractive industries in terms of conflict and cooperation. With the Bellagio meeting, we aim to bring the project team, activists from Latin America and NGO representatives from Europe to discuss and share progress and challenges encountered in the project with a view to maximizing the impact of findings and durability of our activities. Furthermore we will explore ways to forge new partnerships and expand the project beyond 2016.


About Dr. Murat Arsel and Dr. Lorenzo Pellegrini


Dr. Murat Arsel is Associate Professor of Environment and Sustainable Development at ISS.






Dr. Lorenzo Pellegrini is Senior Lecturer in Development Economics at ISS.








PETER K. BIWOTTThis paper on Trade and Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of Regulatory Policies investigates the relationship between international trade liberalization and economic growth with a focus on the role of regulatory policies in a selected sample of sixteen sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries. While international trade liberalization refers to the removal of barriers to international trade, regulatory policies refer to the improvement of credit, labor and product markets in a country. Using panel data, the study applies the Instrumental Variables (IV) and the Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) methodologies to deal with the problem of endogeneity. The results show that better regulatory policies significantly contribute to economic growth. Further, international trade liberalization works well when regulatory policies are improved in tandem with liberalization. This implies that less regulated countries benefit more from international trade liberalization than heavily regulated countries. Therefore, improvements in policies that regulate credit, labor and product markets will enhance the gains from international trade liberalization in Sub-Saharan Africa. Further, the results show that accumulation of physical capital contributes to economic growth. Thus, Sub-Saharan African countries should reform their regulatory policies as they continue to deepen international trade liberalization.

Got the article here 

Peter K. Biwott, Economics of Development (ECD)  MA student 2008/2009. He has completed his MA with a research paper entitled: “The Effect of International Trade Openness on Economic Growth: A Cross Country Analysis of Sub-Saharan Africa”.

He has worked at the Ministry of Trade as an Economist from January to June 2010 in Kenya. He joined Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) as a Research Fellow on Macroeconomics between July 2010 to June 2011. In July 2011 he has moved to Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) as the Chief Manager Planning, Research and Development until April 2012. Currently, he has working as  Senior Analyst, Macroeconomics and Public Finance  at the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Prelude to be an Economist

Category: PhD

17 Aug 2013

Eri_postIt is almost like a dream when I come to think of where I stand today. To be perfectly honest, I did not even think about doing a PhD while I was doing the first of my two MAs for a number of reasons (which I am not going to elaborate on here but you can always e-mail me if you want to know more), but here I am. After completing the second MA I luckily received a ticket for a great four year journey at the ISS last year.

What motivated me to pursue the PhD? One of the reasons is the fascination of the subject of macroeconomics, especially global economy. For me, development matters not only for those who live in developing countries but also for those in the so-called developed countries. Capitalist economies are fundamentally cyclical in character, no country can experience prosperity indefinitely. Ezra Vogel wrote a book called “Japan as number one” in 1979 reflecting Japanese bashing in the U.S., but now in 2013 all such the criticism has shifted to China. The Japanese economy has been experiencing almost continuous low growth after the bubble burst in 1990s. There is optimism that this low growth is coming to an end with Abenomics, but I am of the view that it is not going to help the ordinary person and the economy as a whole. Rather it is only designed to help the rich and those who work in big companies. Our generation are already experiencing and feeling the decline in the economy, although it has to be said it is nothing compared to what my grandparents experience just after the end of World War II.

So what I am researching is what is referred to as “business cycles” (the expansion and contraction of economies, including crisis). To research this subject, I have to know all economic theories both macro and micro from mainstream (Neoclassical) to heterodox (Post Keynesians and Marx) perspectives. This fascinates me. To know how the system (capitalism) works requires considerable knowledge, but the effort is worth is! (Don’t criticise me here by saying I have not done empirical research yet, since I will come to that next year). The particular focus of my research is how cycles operate in developing countries, with the final goal being to develop economic indicators for policy makers in these countries to forecast the direction of their economies. Everyone agrees that the developing countries are becoming increasingly important in the global economy, so understanding their movement is increasingly important for everyone.

The great thing about the ISS is that it provides a critical perspective on development issues. It is impossible to live a day at the ISS without listening (or talking) about the world we are living in. What I like about the EDEM group especially is that my fellow PhD colleagues are very cooperative and open for discussion, even though we all work on different topics and have different background in terms of race, nationality, gender, work experiences etc. The supervisors and promoters of PhD students are always very supportive, although ALWAYS demanding. I can say that I get considerable inspiration and knowledge each time I talk about my topic. Lastly, ISS provides me financial support in the form of a complete fee waver (with the condition that I finish the PhD in 4 years). This financial support has made a big difference for me. All in all, I greatly appreciate the chance and support given to me by the ISS and EDEM research group.

One piece of advice if I may. Never think you will not be able to do a PhD. You never know the opportunities life gives you. The thing is to recognise these and take them when they come.

Eri Ikeda is a Japanese PhD candidate at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) Erasmus University Rotterdam. She holds an MA in Development Studies with Environment and Sustainable Development  specialization from the same Institute where she is pursuing her PhD studies.  Her current PhD research focuses on Business cycles and their indicators in developing countries.

ECD 2013/14 Students

Category: MA students

16 Aug 2013

Congratulation Economics of Development!

The latest number of students of Economics of Development for the 2013/14 academic year is 43, of which 27 male and 16 female from 17 countries. This level is the highest in history of the specialization. The specialization provides students with the theoretical knowledge, policy awareness, and analytical techniques to tackle many of the key issues facing their countries in respect of economic development and economic policy analysis.

           Country               Male     Female       Students by Country

  1. Afghanistan         1               0               1
  2. America                0              1               1
  3. Bangladesh          1              1               2
  4. Brazil                    1              0               1
  5. Ethiopia                6              3               9
  6. Germany              1              0               1
  7. Indonesia            13            5              18
  8. Kenya                   1             0               1
  9. Mexico                  0             1               1
  10. Namibia              0             1               1
  11. Nepal                 0              1               1
  12. Nigeria               1              0               1
  13. Rwanda             0              1               1
  14. Tanzania            1              0              1
  15. Turkey                0             1               1
  16. Uganda              0             1               1
  17. Zimbabwe          1             0               1

All Indonesian students are Double Degree


Peter van Bergeijk in Volkskrant

Category: Dutch

13 Aug 2013


The Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant is currently running a series on the global financial crisis. Each week, an interviewee is held with an expert with interesting and original ideas. This week’s, Saturday 10 August 2013,  interviewee was Peter van Bergeijk. The article is in Dutch. Peter explains how, in his view, the crisis can only be resolved if we start to look at it from a new perspective. We need to look, as he says, at the ant-hill and not just the ants.


Got the interview here

Mebratie's picture_EDEMEDEM PhD researcher Anagaw Derseh Mebratie has been presented this paper in the Global Health Metrics and Evaluation (GHME) conference which was held in Seattle between June 17 to 19, 2013 and the 9th World Congress on Health Economics held in Sydney between July 7 to 10.

Motivation: In recent years, there has been a proliferation of community-based health insurance (CBHI) schemes designed to provide financial protection against the costs of health care and expand access to modern health-care services to the informal and rural sectors. In 2011, a pilot CBHI scheme was introduced in Ethiopia. This study aims to rigorously evaluate the effect of the scheme on access to health-care services and financial protection.


Got further information here.

RicardoEDEM PhD researcher Ricardo Sousa is chairing 13th International African Studies Conference on Society and Politics in Africa: Traditional, transitional and new, Moscow, May 27-29, 2014

PANEL: UN Security Council African Peace and Security Architecture and military interventions in Africa

CHAIRS: Professor Kay Mathews – Addis Ababa University and PhD candidate Ricardo Sousa – International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University of Rotterdam

Resume of the call for papers:

The African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) is set to be the main conflict management mechanism for the continent. It is based on the principle of the responsibility to protect and subsidiarity for its inter-institutional relationships, but both of these principles have been questioned. The responsibility to protect have not been used so far to justify interventions in the continent and humanitarian interventions have been permeable to political interests and deviation from its mandate when implemented (such as in Libya). Subsidiarity is prone to resource dependence and non-centralized decisions are not necessarily immune to political interests taking precedence over humanitarian concerns. This panel welcomes papers which explore these two dimensions of APSA.


Got further information here

International Institute of Social Studies

Economics of Development (ECD) is a Major in the MA in Development Studies. This blog provides a platform for discussion for researchers, students and others interested in this field of studies. The blog is administered by the ECD teaching team.