» Archive for: November, 2013

SLIn this study we consider the impact of natural and non-natural shocks on child nutrition indicators (weight-for-age-WAZ and height-for-age-HAZ). The analysis is conducted with a multi-shock approach to account for interdependencies of adverse events from the natural, biological, economic and health sphere. A unique dataset of about 1,000 children reported leaving in poor rural households in eight regions of Senegal is used. Results show that droughts seem to negatively affect WAZ while loss of employment by a member of the household seems to negatively affect HAZ. By contrast, mortality seems to have a positive effect on child nutritional status depending also on the role of the dead member in the household suggesting the need of policy interventions to alleviate the within-household struggle for food resources.

From: 10 December 2013 13:00
Till: 10 December 2013 14:00

Room: 3.39

Sara Lazzaroni, former ECD MA student, is a PhD Candidate  from the Doctoral School of Economic Policy, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche Sociali

Murat Arsel and Lorenzo Pellegrini have submitted a successful project proposal, titled ‘Nationalization of natural resources, cooperation and conflict in Latin America’, to the NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research).

Project description

Latin America has a long history of conflict engendered by the capturability of extractable natural resources. The processes that lead to these conflicts have intensified further since the inception of this project and this top-up proposal, which comprises a deepening of activities and expansion into Peru, is in response to these dynamics. In this context, the impact of left-leaning politicians implementing a variety policies increasing the states’ presence in the extractive sector, such as ‘nationalisation’ in its various guises, can now be observed in the ways hydrocarbons and mineral resources are implicated in conflictive or co-operative outcomes.

From the knowledge perspective, this project contributes new insights to the political economy of extraction and the management regimes of natural resources – including compensation, redistribution and consultation policies and practices. These insights concern ongoing and emerging processes that are novel in themselves and are setting regional trends as signalled by the discussion over the Latin American ‘Left Turn’. In addition, new and revised activities introduce a new layer of information – data from ‘natural sciences’ – that include satellite imagery and chemical data. Once the information collected has been transformed – through critical and participatory analysis – into knowledge, the project will disseminate them via ‘open access’ techniques.

From the development perspective, the project provides a platform to promote dialogue between stakeholders and help bridge information and communication gaps. It also adds to the discussion on post-extractivist transitions and extraction revenues with the study of the impact of new redistributive policies promoted by Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. These policies are analyzed with a view to understanding their sustainability and replicability in other contexts. As the environmental justice framework – which is the guiding principle of the project – makes clear, dialogue can be instrumental to improving socio-environmental outcomes only if the parties can speak from positions of relative equality and confidence. Capacity building activities described below will in part be directed to prepare the groundwork for such meaningful exchange.

 From the capacity building perspective, the project contributes to the formation of academic and research capacity, but also of local knowledge-creating capacities – such as the implementation of a socio-environmental information system and participatory monitoring – that provide inputs for both research and community action. We have also found a need to include dissemination skills (e.g., digital participatory mapping as communication tools), introduction of concepts of land-use management, and training on relevant constitutional and other legal norms, especially in the case of extractivist pressure over territories inhabited by indigenous peoples. The enhanced ability of the communities to document socio-environmental circumstances is facilitating the firm establishment of their claims on extraction’s impacts. The findings and processes of the project are enhancing civil society organizations’ capacity to strategize and undertake effective advocacy vis-à-vis the private sector and the state.

 Overall, the project directly contributes to processes of change in Latin America that seek to transform the political economy of extraction-led development with a view to achieving environmental justice, which would improve the material conditions of indigenous communities and ensure the sustainability of vital ecosystems.

This grant brings the total value of the project to 1,300,000 euros.

For more information, see  here 

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






Eri_postWith their increasing integration into the global economy in the last few decades, an increasing  number of developing country economies are beginning to display cyclical patterns in the context of  their growth processes. Yet relatively little attention has been paid to this phenomena. Indeed, the  majority of studies of cycles continue to focus on the advanced countries, most notably the U.S.,  Japan and Europe. Those few studies of cycles in developing countries that have been undertaken  tend to be little more than mechanical applications of models used in the study of advanced country  economies. The proposed research aims to contribute to filling this lacuna by considering explicitly  the appropriate theoretical and empirical frameworks for the study of cycles in developing countries.  For the purposes of the present research two main approaches to the study of cycles will be  identified. These are those which see cycles as exogenous to the workings of the capitalist system  (the exogenous approach), and those that see them as endogenous to these workings (the  endogenous approach). The former is typically identified with the so-called Neoclassicals (or  mainstream) , and the latter with the so-called Heterodox approach. Further distinctions will be  drawn between various sub-strands of thinking within the two broad approaches. Within the  Neoclassical the major distinctions are between the Real Business Cycle, Monetarist and Austrian  schools, and within the Heterodox between the Post Keynesian and Marxist schools. The generic  approaches, and sub-approaches, will provide the framework for looking at how researchers  approach the empirical study of cycles in developing countries. Particular attention in this regard will  be paid to how researchers define and identify cycles, and explain their causes and nature. One of  the important aims of the research is to develop lead, lag and coincident indicators for selected  developing countries, which will be founded on the other aspects of research. A pivotal element in  the research is seen as the definition of cycles, since will be argued that it conditions different  understandings of their nature and causes and, in the final instance, different perspectives regarding  lead, lag and coincident indicators.

When: 04 December 2013

Time: 10:00 – 12:00

Venue: Room 3.39

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.

Ermias picMy name is Ermias Shewangizaw and I am an Ethiopian. I have been working in the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) prior to joining ISS. Currently, being part of the construction sector, ERA is considered to be among the key drivers of the development of the country. In my undergraduate program, I specialized in Economics for it is an intriguing field that addresses issues ranging from the improvement of the living conditions of subjects to the development of organizations, institutions and countries. In as much as my undergraduate education formed the basis for familiarity with the economic theories and the research skills, it also sparked my interests in the economic aspects in low-income countries such as Ethiopia. The experiences I have acquired from both the work environment and the seminars that I personally participated initiated me to think of development in a wider perspective and contemplate about pursuing a post-graduate study in the area of Development Economics.

Since ISS is among the leading Institutes in terms of developmental studies, it sparked my interest of pursuing my Master’s program in the Institute. Furthermore, the incorporation of students from different corners of the world made my decision to be in favor of ISS. This can facilitate sharing of   different cultures among the students themselves and also with the lecturers which makes the teaching learning process lively. I am a student in the Economics of Development (ECD) major. ECD has helped me in improving my knowledge regarding different Economic theories. It also benefited me in improving problem solving skills and critical analysis skills which are relevant to tackling problems of development. Most importantly, the program offered me necessary techniques of undertaking a high quality research.

Most interestingly, my stay at ISS has been very exciting which is mainly attributed to all the staff members of ISS and the diverse students I met. To put it differently, the atmosphere at ISS has been more rewarding as I obtained more knowledge from fellow students and the lecturers of ISS. Thus, I am thankful for that!!!

Ermias Shewangizaw is Economics of Development (ECD) MA student batch of 2012/13.

juan david parraDespite possible disagreements in the field of development, including the understanding of development itself, scholars tend to agree on the importance of education as a means to improving social welfare (Kanbur, 2001). This is an especially important ongoing debate in Latin America, a continent where the quality of primary and secondary education seems to have stagnated when compared to countries with historically similar income per-capita level trends (Di John, 2007).

In a country like Colombia, quality of education (measured by standardized test-exam results) is not only relatively low (Barrera, et al. 2012), but also highly unequal between students from different income levels. In 2011 students from the highest socioeconomic rank obtained 17 points more in the State National Examination, Pruebas Saber, than the ones from the lowest income bracket[1](Figure 1). The pattern tends to be persistent over time and reveals how the educational system is, in Roemer’s (1998) terms, far from reaching the goal of levelling the field for all of the players.

Juan Figure

Figure 2 present some econometric estimations of student’s test scores. The use of a multilevel specification (MLM) is intended to correct deflated standard errors from OLS coefficients, as a result of common unobserved characteristics between students nested in schools and municipalities (Bickel, 2007). The key idea is to explore the relation between student’s income level and test score results. No statistical significant differences between income brackets and student performance would imply that equal access to similar quality education indeed exists regardless of economic status. Countries like Finland or South Korea have been successful in vanishing this correlation (Ladd, 2012). Evidently this is not the case of Colombia. Even after controlling for household, school and municipal covariates, an Income 4 level student gets, in average, almost two additional points in his/her exam results than Income 1 pupils. These last variables were built by using a family’s self-reported income category indicator.

Figure 2. OLS and Multilevel (MLM) Regressions (individual test scores 2011)


OLS (1)

OLS (2)

OLS (3)

MLM (4)

MLM (5)

Socioeconomic strata











Income level 2 (yes=1)











Income level 3 (yes=1)











Income level 4 (yes=1)




























Household covariates






School covariates






School ranking lagged (2010)





Municipal covariates



Dummy variables for regions












Number of groups



Robust standard errors in parentheses

*** p<0.01, ** p<0.05, * p<0.1

 The use of some concepts of the sociology of education can be useful to shed some light on the interpretation of these results. According to a Bourdiean framework, schools tend to reproduce, rather than modify, patterns of elitism and social exclusion ‘by rewarding the non-cognitive characteristics (e.g., speech, dress, style) of high-status students, thereby ensuring that those skilled at signaling affiliation with elite culture maintain their privileged position’ (Downey, et al. 2004, p. 615). Differences might be explained, for instance, as a result of differential treatment between teachers and staff members with students from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Well-ranked schools tend also to be more expensive than other educational institutions, limiting  the access of poor students not only to a higher standard learning, but also to having the possibility of sharing a school culture with rich students who are usually family-endowed with higher learning motivations (Becker, 1993).

The reproduction of social inequalities can be further understood by linking this analysis to patterns of attendance of higher education. According to estimates compiled by Sánchez & Otero (2012), while 80% and 95% of strata 5 and 6 students, respectively, enroll in a University, only 50% of strata 1 students reach this educational level [2] (this sample includes only those students that presented standardized exams (Saber Pro) in the last semesters of their undergraduate studies in 2010). In Colombia, the return rate, as measured in terms of expected future income, of attending a University is 43% higher than alternatives such as a technical (or vocational) education. And as standardized state national exams highly determine access to high educational institutions, it follows that primary and secondary education is restricting, rather than boosting, social mobility.

[1] It is important to keep in mind that the maximum possible result in the exam is 100 points, that the mean of the exam in 2011 was 46.37 and standard deviation 10.

[2] According to the International Federation for Housing and Planning, ‘In Colombia, a socio-economic stratification system (…) classifies areas on a scale from 1 to 6 with 1 as the lowest income area and 6 as the highest (…) The system is organized so that the people living in upper layers (strata 5 and 6) pay more for services like electricity, water and sewage than the groups in the lower strata’. http://www.ifhp.org/ifhp-blog/colombia-social-stratification-law#.UpMZRbSoXYY


Barrera, F., Maldonado, D., & Rodriguez, C. (2012). Calidad de la Educación Básica y Media en Colombia: Diagnóstico y Propuestas. Bogotá: Universidad de los Andes Serie Documentos Cede, 2012-41.

Becker, G. (1993). A treatise on the family. Harvard University Press.

Bickel, R. (2007). Multilevel analysis for applied research. New York – London: The Guilford Press.

Di John, J. (2007). Albert Hirschman’s Exit-voice Framework and its Relevance to Problems of Public Education Performance in Latin America. Oxford Development Studies, 35(3), 295-327.

Downey, Paul T, D., von Hippel , P., & Broh, B. (2004). Are Schools the Great Equalizer? Cognitive Inequality during the Summer Months and the School Year. American Sociological Review, 69(5), 613-635.

Kanbur, R. (2001). Economic Policy, Distribution and Poverty. World Development, 29(6), 1083-1094.

Ladd, H. (2012). Education and poverty: confronting the evidence. Journal of policy analysis and management, 31(2), 203-227.

Roemer , J. (1998). Equality of Opportunity. Harvard University Press.

Sánchez, A., & Otero, A. (2012). Educación y reproducción de la desigualdad en Colombia. Bogotá: Banco de la República. Reportes del Emisor no 154.

By Juan David Parra

Juan David Parra is EDEM PhD researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies and is a member of the Economics of Development and Emerging Markets Research Group. Part of the material discussed in this entry will be published in a book edited by the The Center for the Study of Law, Justice and Society, Dejusticia (based in Bogotá, Colombia), co-authored with Mauricio García Villegas, Felipe Jimenez and Jose Rafael Espinosa.  

Why I chose ISS?

Category: MA students

21 Nov 2013

Tracy IgberaeseMy name is Tracy Igberaese and I am Nigerian/American. Before joining ISS, I worked at a US based management consulting firm providing strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation and technical assistance support to governments, non-profit organizations and corporations involved in the field of community and economic development. Although my previous work experience has been concentrated in local economic development initiatives, I also have a BA in French and World Business and a MBA in International Business. It is this combination of education and work experience that first sparked my desire to understand the development issues facing the African continent and more specifically my mother country, Nigeria.

I chose ISS because of its strong global reputation in the field of development studies and the mutli-national student body which makes the institute quite unique. I am a student in the Economics of Development major and although the course is challenging, I also find it very rewarding. ECD has altered the way I think about development and has propelled my interest in global markets, business transactions and macroeconomic factors of growth. The major has strengthened my analytical skills, improved my research skills, increased my knowledge of theory and intensified my curiosity for more knowledge.

The greatest thing about ISS is the diversity of the student body. This is the main reason why I have enjoyed my experience so much. Students and staff from ISS come from every part of the world and have a variety of views and opinions. Needless to say, this always makes for interesting and enlightening class discussions. Because we are encouraged to think critically and have the opportunity to attend and plan workshops and conferences, there are always opportunities to gain knowledge outside of your major and deepen your knowledge about a variety of development issues.

Tracy Igberaese is Economics of Development (ECD) MA student batch of 2012/13.

SusanSusan Newman was invited by the Development Studies Department of the SOAS, University of London to present a seminar on Finance and the (re)structuring of production; foregrounding production in the process of financialisation.


Despite their joint empirical significance in the processes of capitalist accumulation today, various commodity chain/global value chain/global production network studies, as well as post-fordist accounts of productive restructuring, have tended to be silent on the role of finance or financialisation in capitalist accumulation. At the same time, much of the literature has studied financialisation from the point of view of finance, without due attention to production, except for at the macro level where financialisation is understood as a process privileging financial investment at the expense of production.

This paper brings together two, hitherto, largely separate literatures in order to draw lessons from and point to a systemic understanding of financialisation and the restructuring of production since the 1980s. This is achieved, firstly, by theoretically reinstating production as the core of capitalist accumulation and understanding financialisation as the process by which the symbiotic relationship between finance and industrial capital are played out. Second, the material specificities on which concrete forms of the abstract relations that characterise the process of financialisation and the [re]structuring of production are conditioned will be revealed by drawing from empirical material in existing studies of global retailers (Baud and Durand 2011), Pacific manufacturers and assemblers for Apple (Froud et. al. 2012), Outsourcing by U.S. based TNCs (Milberg 2008), coffee chains (Newman 2009) and women workers ‘at the base of’ global commodity chains (Palpacuer 2008).

ZelalemZelalem Yilma Debebe give an invited paper entitled ‘Analysing Risk and Adverse Selection using Subjective Expectations of Health Expenditure: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia’ at European Development Research Network  (EUDN) in Geneva.

The paper is EUDN PhD Student Workshop aims at giving PhD students in Development Economics an opportunity to present their papers in an informal environment, as well as to exchange the results of recent and ongoing research in different fields of development economics.


The perceived risk of health expenditure is likely to play an important role in determining demand for health insurance. However, little is known about the perceptions and incidence of such risk and the extent to which such perceptions are based on realised health expenditure. This paper elicits and uses data on subjective expectations of health expenditure to explore and analyse the perceived risks of out-of-pocket (OOP) health expenditure and the role of such perceptions in influencing demand for insurance. We begin by describing how subjective expectations were elicited and examine the validity of the information. Subsequently, we examine the link between expected and realized OOP spending and whether uptake of a recently introduced community based health insurance (CBHI) scheme in rural Ethiopia is correlated with expected health expenditure. We find a weak and transient link between expected and realized OOP spending and a positive correlation between CBHI status and expected health expenditure. While CBHI status and expected health expenditure are correlated, the transient relationship between expected and actual OOP spending suggests that adverse selection is unlikely to exert a substantial effect on the financial viability of the CBHI scheme.

The workshop takes place at the European Development Research Network (EUDN) PhD Workshop on Development Economics, in Geneva, Switzerland.


Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) in collaboration with the International Institute for Social Studies Erasmus University Rotterdam has set up a research project with the objective to explore progressive monetary, fiscal, financial and industrial policies for Europe.

The project will bring together researchers from various European countries and will have the primary aim to address the following questions:

What was the role of finance and the financial sector in the restructuring of European industries 1970 – 2010? To what extent current and proposed reforms of the financial sector will stabilise banking systems and support industrial policies that would create a sounder economic environment in which banks could operate?

The workshop takes place at the Headquarters of the Foundation Rafael Campalans, Barcelona from 22nd – 23rd November 2013.


Principal investigators and co-editors:

Dr Susan Newman, Senior Lecturer, International Institute of Social Studies

Dr Giovanni Cozzi, Economic Advisor, Foundation for European Progressive Studies

Prof Jan Toporowski, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Project administrative coordinator: Ischi Graus, Foundation for European Progressive Studies

Read further information here

Profile_Picture_2Empirical results of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on domestic firms productivity spillovers are decidedly mixed. This study reviews what explain the intra-sectoral variation on productivity spillovers from foreign presence in developing countries. However, the study first investigate the existence of publication selection bias and genuine empirical FDI-spillover effect. In doing so, the paper use 1451 spillover estimates from the fruit of 72 empirical studies in 31 developing countries for the period of 1983 to 2013. Results suggest that FDI-spillover effects tainted by substantial publication selection bias and on average zero overall authentic empirical effect in the context of developing countries. However, spillover magnitude and sign depend systematically on method and structural heterogeneity. Results are robust to different methods and definition of the research record.

From: 19 November 2013 13:00
Till: 19 November 2013 14:00

Room 4.42

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.