» Archive for: March, 2014


Martí Orta_EDEM_Post_DocMartí Orta holds a B.Sc. in Biology (University of Barcelona) and PhD in Environmental Sciences -Ecological Economics (Autonomous University of Barcelona). In 2014 he completed a Marie Curie International Fellowship at the Documentation Centre on Environmental Conflicts at Rome. His research has focused, in a broad sense, on sustainable management of tropical rainforests, remote sensing, ethnocartography and participatory monitoring of extractive industry impacts, accountability of social and environmental liabilities of oil companies and oil frontier expansion. Martí has 8 years of experience working on environmental impacts of petroleum-related activities in the Achuar and Kichwa territories (Peruvian Amazon). He has also worked on governance of environmental resources and services, ethno-ecology and biodiversity management involving indigenous people.

Mariana Walter_EDEMMariana Walter holds a degree in Urban Ecology from the Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and a master´s degree in Environmental Studies (Ecological Economics) from ICTA-UAB (Autonomous University of Barcelona). In a month she defends her PhD at ICTA. Her research addresses mining conflicts in Latin America, environmental justice movements, social metabolism, expert-lay knowledge interplay, institutional change at different scales and the role of decision-making procedures in environmental conflicts. She has taken part in research projects in Argentina (UNGS) and Europe (ALARM, CEECEC, ENGOV, EJOLT).

Rolph van der HoevenIn many countries the share of labour in national income has declined over the last three decades. As a result, the low and middle-income groups of people who depend the most on wages for their income are crumbling. Meanwhile, the rich elites who depend more on profits from capital investments than on wages are flourishing. At the same time, income earned from capital investments is taxed less than labour income, resulting in greater inequality.

The decline of labour share will continue as taxation on capital and corporation taxes further decline, and taxes on labour remain the same or even increases, benefitting the global rich.

As in developed countries, in developing and emerging economies there is a decline in the share of wages in national income, despite significant increases in average wages in many developing countries over the last decade.

The result is increasing inequality in societies at the household level between groups who depend on wages for their income, and a small group of rich who earn an income from investments in the capital market.

Investors like investment banks, shareholders and hedge funds demand short-term profits and are therefore not investing these profits in the real economy, on which wage earners depend for their income.

A drastic rethinking of labour market policies is needed. Moreover, employment policies need to be broadened to other policy other areas, such as to financial regulation and taxation. These changes require more international coordination.

For a detailed information, read the analysis here

Rolph van der Hoeven is Professor on Employment and Development Economics at the International  Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University of Rotterdam. He is also a member of the Committee on Development Cooperation of the International Advisory Council (AIV)  to the Dutch Government. Previously he has worked for over 30 years in various place in the world at UNICEF and ILO, where he was most recently  manager of the secretariat of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization and Director of ILO’s Policy Coherence Group.

Rolph van der HoevenTraditional development aid interventions, as formulated in the Millennium Development Goals, might not be the most effective response for the poor to grow out of poverty due to the triple crises of nutrition, finance and environment, in addition to the changing geopolitical landscape. New challenges therefore need to be confronted in a post-2015 agenda, which could be the best part of a global social contract in which all concerns should therefore be discussed in order to reach the goal of full and productive employment. Coherent policies both at national and international levels are needed that go far beyond concerns of development aid and successful technical assistance projects. The challenge is to have these policies well-articulated in a post-2015 development agenda, otherwise full employment would remain a lofty and elusive goal.

Got the article here

About the author

Peter_11Peter van Bergeijk,  interviewed in three of the major nation-wide newspapers NRC, NRC next and Trouw, recently argues that the sanctions against Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula will not bite and change President Putin’s policy. ‘These so-called ‘smart’ sanctions that aim at individuals in the Russian leadership are sold as important, but they actually amount to less than a very complicated way of doing nothing. Comparing the EU sanctions against Russia with the sanctions against Iran on which van Bergeijk recently published in the Journal of Peace Research, he concludes that the impact of those macroeconomic  sanctions was substantial. Moreover while Iran is an autocratic country the Iranian middle class still has political cloud. These sanctions did hurt the middle class and that pressure translated into a change of leadership and a new policy regarding nuclear issues.

For a detailed information, got the analysis here

 

Dij;itaWhy is there so much differentiation among developing countries? Why has this differentiation proliferated over the years? Cui bono? These are the main questions that sparked and motivated this research. Departing from an empirical observation indicating a crescendo of UN categorization or differentiation of developing countries, one could not help but wonder about the reasons behind this persistent proliferation of categories. Why this concern for “slicing up” the developing world, constantly categorizing developing countries according to geographic, economic, developmental, environmental and other commonalities? When and why has this first started? Is it to imprint more efficiency in the way that the organization makes policies for developing countries? Is it to facilitate the provision of special and differential treatment to certain groups of countries? Are developing countries’ needs put at the center of these categorization efforts or are there other motivations?

Triangulation of data collected through literature review, document analysis, semi-structured interviews and descriptive statistics allow the issue of differentiation or categorization of developing countries to be examined in terms of two main factors: interest and power; studied separately and in relation to each other and analyzed through (institutional) behavior. The ultimate goal is to understand how interests shape and modify behavior and how interests can be translated into policy decisions.

To assist in the inquiry – by providing both a language for discussing the nature of these power/interests interactions, as well as a rich set of assumptions about processes similar to the ones underlying developing country differentiation efforts, in general, and the least developed countries (LDC) category, in particular – this research is:

  1. Generally framed in the disciplines of Political Economy and International Relations, and
  2. Resorts to and draws inspiration mainly from: the bureaucratic angle embedded in the constructivist analytical framework offered by Barnett and Finnemore (1999), and the debates on the principal-agent and the structure-agency dichotomies.

 This analytical framework is applied to:

  1. The “slicing up” of the general and undefined developing countries’ group in order to, within it, draw international attention to the LDC group; the first intentional UN effort to differentiate among developing countries. Findings indicate that more advanced developing countries engaged with the UN proposal to “slice-up” the Third World more as a damage-control project (by settling for a harmless deal that would not jeopardize their interests), while developed countries viewed it as an opportunity to help advance their economic interests (namely through trade). However, by the time of the institutionalization of the LDC category, UN bureaucratic interests were also being attended. Categorizing LDCs became not just about the selfless provision of special treatment to that category of countries (the principals), but mainly about responding to the irreconcilable interests of three different groups (the agents): (i) developed and (ii) more advanced developing countries’ individual interests and (iii) UN bureaucratic preferences.
  2. The proliferation categories of developing countries within the UN, segmenting the developing world even further, according to common traits. However, rather than creating predictability, rationality and transparency about rules and principles and protecting states against the vagaries of both large countries and powerful international bureaucracies, the proliferation of classifications injects the global governance system with opacity and discretion, enabling the exercise of power over smaller and weaker states.
  3. The case of Cape Verde’s LDC graduation. This analysis demonstrates how, paradoxically, categorization of developing countries can be perpetuated in time or prolonged beyond reasonable, with implications in terms of long-term aid dependency. Indeed, the extension of preferential treatment despite the loss of LDC status and the institutionalization of a new transition framework that allows LDC graduates to linger in that category for an unclear period of time, creates a new informal category of “LDCs-intransition”, which favors the status quo, validates the continued existence of the LDC bureaucratic apparatus, and legitimizes further development interventions in these countries. Ultimately, LDC graduation does not necessarily mean liberation from a dependent relationship.

This in-depth analysis serves as a vehicle to understand apparently incongruous UN behaviors and to grasp the political economy of developing country categorization/differentiation. In trying to understand who benefits the most from: (i) developing country categorization, (ii) continuous proliferation and perpetuation of these categories, and (iii) graduation processes that keep graduated countries in a dependent relationship, the ultimate goal is to bring out the interests and the power shifts motivating and resulting from this. By making this interest/power dynamics evident, the thesis’ main contributions are on two levels: (i) initiate an academic debate towards a political economy of developing country differentiation, and (ii) provide elements for a more balanced decision- and policy-making framework for categorizing developing countries with the aim of providing them with special and differential treatment.

The FDS Committee consists of:

Chair Prof Dr Des Gasper
Promotor Prof Dr Peter van Bergeijk
Co-promotor Dr Susan Newman
Senior External Discussant Prof. Manuel Ennes Ferreira
Senior Internal Discussant Prof Dr Rolph van der Hoeven
PhD Discussant Shigehisa Kasahara

 

When: 9th April 2014

Time: 10:00 – 12:00

Venue: Room 4.42

Peter_from_cvEconomic diplomacy is being rediscovered as a government activity that may help to boost trade and investment. But can it play a role in the foreign trade and investment activities of developing countries? More importantly: does it pay off?

Developing countries are increasingly taking the lead in world trade: in 2011 more than 51% of international trade originated in the global South. This is good news because it implies that developing countries are successfully diversifying their economies both with respect to the composition of production (the intensity of international trade in relation to domestic economic activities) and with respect to their trade partners

This success, however, is mainly driven by growing trade between developing countries. With respect to the entering to market of developed countries, the progress is less clear and one reason is that these countries often still have a reputation for being unable to produce quality products. Purchasing managers in the North often do not trust suppliers from the global South. Similar reasoning applies to foreign investment. Developing countries thus need to improve their reputation by, for example, creating and signalling higher national quality standards and increasing their number of trading and investment partners. An important instrument to provide this manner of ‘trade capital’ (a public good for all companies in a country) is via economic diplomacy.

Read the article here.

Download the pdf version here (scroll down to page 14).

Dr. Peter van Bergeijk is Professor of International Economics and Macroeconomics at the International  Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University of Rotterdam.

 

Mebratie's picture_EDEM1. What did you like most about Meta-Analysis

I liked Meta because it shows the overall evidence about a give topic.

2. What is the most important thing that you learned

I learned from Meta the importance of not relaying on a single paper or a few studies in order to produce common features (stylized facts) of an issue.

3. What is the biggest danger/trap when doing a meta

The biggest danger in Meta-Analysis is lack of a number of studies which investigate a given topic in different places and times following the same research methodology. In this case, it is difficult to make big generalizations about the relationships among different factors.

4. Content benefit: (how) did the Meta help you to evaluate the literature on your topic?

My experience with Meta helped me how to report the overall evidence in the literature about a given topic rather than describing the findings of the papers one by one. It also gave me some idea about how to identify the quality of papers based on some criteria.

5. Research competence benefit: (how) did the Meta help you to build methodological expertise?

It helped me how to reduce potential sources of biases in quantitative analysis and how to identify research gaps in the literature.

6. Reputation  benefit (how) did the Meta help you to get a good article into a good journal and to become recognized expert (including access to international conferences etc.)

Yes. We published it in ‘The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development’. I am also a reviewer of this journal since I together with my co-authors published two papers in this journal. I presented our meta paper in ‘Firm heterogeneity and development’ conference held in Utrecht, the Netherlands between 6 and 7, 2011. Some researchers contacted me to help them on how to collect and analyse Meta data since they found our Meta paper from different sources.

7. Career benefit 

Yes it helped me to get PhD Researcher position at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam. I used Meta-Analysis in my Masters research paper in which I got distinction grade.

Anagaw Mebratie is an  Ethiopian PhD candidate at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) Erasmus University Rotterdam. He holds an MA in Development Studies with Economics of Development specialization from the same Institute where he is pursuing his PhD studies. His current PhD research focuses on the effectiveness of community based health insurance scheme in Ethiopia.

Selwyn_Moons1. What did you like most about Meta-Analysis

A Meta-Analysis is an excellent way get to know any academic topic. This is especially valuable for starting PhD’s. If performed properly, it will get them acquainted with all relevant (quantitative) papers.

2. What is the most important thing that you learned

I consider the vast heterogeneity in reported results (in terms of methods applied, statistics reported etc.) to be the most valuable or interesting lesson from my Meta-Analysis on economic diplomacy. If I may put it differently: my Meta-Analysis showed to me that economic research is performed by human beings. And human beings make mistakes, have biases and report incomplete statistics. It made me more critical towards publications. Even to most flashy looking paper cannot be taken for granted.

3. What is the biggest danger/trap when doing a meta

When building your Meta sample you have to make many choices about what to include and what to leave out of your database. Especially when dealing with a multidisciplinary topic, as economic diplomacy is, it can be difficult to decide which papers you leave out and to decide when you stop digging for more. You may also think of something new/more you can do with your database. What do you do in that case: stick to the plan or take on board new variables or a new way of looking to your papers meaning that you have to revise the work you already did (sometimes you may wish you never started).

4. Content benefit: (how) did the Meta help you to evaluate the literature on your topic?

Very important

 5. Research competence benefit: (how) did the Meta help you to build methodological expertise?

Very important

6. Reputation  benefit (how) did the Meta help you to get a good article into a good journal and to become recognized expert (including access to international conferences etc.)

Too early to tell, but the prof likes it

7. Career benefit (probably too early to ask, but …)

Too early to tell, but I think it will prove to be useful

Selwyn Moons: is a Dutch PhD candidate at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) Erasmus University Rotterdam in addition to his main assignment as Head of Unit, Chief Trade Economist at the Directorate General Foreign Economic Relations, Economic Diplomacy Department. His current PhD research focuses on the Impact of Economic Diplomacy on International Economic Flows

Profile_Picture_21. What did you like most about Meta-Analysis

As the aim of Meta-Analysis is to integrate empirical estimates to provide patterns to follow that wouldn’t be available in individual primary studies, I really enjoyed the way the data are summarized in order to explain the mixed results found among econometric findings. In particular, the methodological issues of econometric estimation, i.e., strategies to accommodate within-study dependence. Moreover, the way publication or selection bias is filtered in order to provide a true empirical phenomenon was truly appreciated. And also avoiding vote counting to combine statistical findings altogether.

2. What is the most important thing that you learned

  • The systematic approach for method, protocol, and data construction, which provides understanding of the nature of the data to employ appropriate empirical strategy.
  • The advantage of working with economic effect (regression coefficient) to note the economic meaning instead of only statistical effect.
  • Using very simple graph to reflect on the distribution of estimated effect size.

3. What is the biggest danger/trap when doing a meta

It is important to notice that methodological aspects shouldn’t be simply adopted by author’s preferences. There should be explicit and justified methods, protocols and construction of data as the report ultimately depends on the raw material obtained using these approaches. In this regard, I have learned some of those mistakes common in various published Meta-Analysis research. Putting differently, researchers should be aware of and strive to avoid misleading conclusions identified by their Meta-Analysis research.

4. Content benefit: (how) did the Meta help you to evaluate the literature on your topic?

Very important

 5. Research competence benefit: (how) did the Meta help you to build methodological expertise?

Very important

6. Reputation  benefit (how) did the Meta help you to get a good article into a good journal and to become recognized expert (including access to international conferences etc.)

Too early to tell but at least I already presented at EDEM seminar that I hope this offers insight for those who are naïve to Meta-Analysis research.

7. Career benefit (probably too early to ask, but …)

Too early to tell

To sum up, two things to highlight:

No matter the research area, Meta-Analysis offers you a comprehensive theoretical and practical discipline. However, there should be explicit underlying methodological grounds to conduct and report Meta-Analysis research.

Binyam Afewerk Demena is an Eritrean PhD candidate at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) Erasmus University Rotterdam. He holds an MA in Development Studies with Economics of Development specialization from the same Institute where he is pursuing his PhD studies. Besides, his BA is in Economics and he is a certified IT Essentials I & II respectively from University of Asmara, Eritrea and CISCO Systems Networking Academy in collaboration with the former. His current PhD research focuses on Foreign Direct Investment productivity spillovers in Sub-Saharan African countries.

SL

1. What did you like most about Meta-Analysis

The fact that it allows to re-organize the literature and make a better sense out of it. Sometimes if one reads all studies separately, at the end of the day she/he feels overwhelmed by the literature, with the Meta-Analysis everything is well organized: in every moment you can quickly go back to who-said what (main result) and how (methodology), while the overall evaluation of the literature is available (prevailing result, main methods, if methods influence results, unexplored areas).

2. What is the most important thing that you learned

Two things:

  • Rigor and the importance of the search strategy. For example, before I didn’t use the Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) when browsing the web for literature, but I understood their importance in refining the search towards the exact objective of the analysis.
  • That often what is thought as easier (like descriptive tables, or charts) can be more helpful and meaningful than fancy and complicated stuff in the understanding of concepts and results.

3. What is the biggest danger/trap when doing a meta

The search strategy (see above) and the risk to interpret results wrongly. For example, in a Meta-Regression using t-values rather than coefficients in the primary studies it is the inclusion/exclusion of a certain explanatory variable that matters more than the relationship between the explanatory variable and the dependent variable in the primary study. The two are related but attention is needed to interpret results correctly.

4. Content benefit: (how) did the Meta help you to evaluate the literature on your topic?

Yes. It helped to identify two sub-literature, and it emphasized different sources of bias in the two strands, database bias and publication bias.

 5. Research competence benefit: (how) did the Meta help you to build methodological expertise?

Yes. Enhanced rigor and awareness of the fact that the researcher has a certain “power” to shape results (so pay attention at how you do your analysis, be critical on the methods that others and you choose).

6. Reputation  benefit (how) did the Meta help you to get a good article into a good journal and to become recognized expert (including access to international conferences etc.)

Access to conferences: Yes

Get a good article into a good journal: No comment, I am superstitious.

Become a recognized expert: we will see…

7. Career benefit (probably too early to ask, but …)

I am going to defend my PhD thesis in the coming months. Meta-Analysis is the first chapter of my thesis. Without Meta-Analysis I would probably had written a long, boring narrative literature review, with not much value added. With the quantitative Meta-Analysis also the evaluators can have a concrete proof of the fact that one did a lot of work in systematizing and handling the literature while creating additional knowledge during the process.

Sara Lazzaroni is an Italian PhD candidate at the Doctoral School of Economic Policy at the Catholic University of Milan-Piacenza. She holds an MA in Development Studies with Economics of Development specialization at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research focuses on the effects of natural disasters at the macroeconomic and microeconomic level with a focus on developing countries.


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.