What does it take for researchers to be heard: Research competitions

Promoting Southern voices is at the heart of our work at GDNet. It is no secret that southern researchers struggle to communicate their research and have their work influence polices, and that’s exactly where we step in. This is NOT another post emphasizing the challenges facing southern research! It is, however, an example of what we aspire for research in the developing world to reach.

The winners of GDN 12th Annual Conference Awards & Medals competition, two Philippine researchers; Jeremaiah Opiniano and Alvin Ang from the University of Santo Thomas, Philippines, tell us what winning the competition added to their research. Ang and Opiniano use a tool called Remittance Investment Climate Analysis in Rural Hometowns (RICART) to advise the Philippine government on how to best use the billion-dollar remittances in local development.

Why did THEY win? In other words, what’s the X factor in their research?

When asked, Ang and Opiniano believe that their research is not only interesting, but also quite useful for communities. What ‘s more important is that it can be replicated and modified to apply to other communities around the world. In support of their argument, they found that other researchers were interested in their work. Researcher to researcher INTERACTION!

So how does winning help?

Winning the competition has indeed been a great step in communicating their research. Ang says that it opens doors to other funding resources as well as links with other researchers, both locally and internationally. It also gave them a boost of confidence in approaching policy makers. The attitude of policy makers itself is notably different; it shows more understanding and support and facilitates access to communities. Communities showed helpfulness and participation, and also provided them with access to information for research.

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Whither macro-prudential policies after the crisis?

The session, Financial Crisis and the role of Macro-Prudential Policies, sponsored by the World Bank Institute, focused on the role of macro-prudential policies, regulation and financial supervision in the post-crisis scenario. As was proven by the emergence of the crisis, traditional macro-prudential regulations were insufficient; hence, there is room for discussion of new and innovative approaches that may help to achieve financial stability.

The session showcased various innovative viewpoints on prudential policies to deal with the adverse changes in macroeconomic and financial conditions, as well as systemic risk. The session highlighted the determinants and tools that can be used for identifying, analysing and curtailing the next possible financial crisis. The panellists represented both national Central Banks and International Financial Institutions (IFIs).

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‘Context is King’ in bridging research and policy

Research Shaping Policy Session

Research Shaping Policy Session

The new buzzword around the world is ‘evidence-based policymaking’. But how effectively does research reach and inform policies in the real world, and what is the role of think tanks in bridging this divide? The Directors of three Think Tanks in Colombia, Chile and Equador shared tactical approaches in a session entitled Research Shaping Policy: Latin America’s Experience, and lived up to their reputation for ‘fierce debate’.

The GDNet-convened session highlighted how crucial  the political context is in shaping the effectiveness of think tank interventions in a country. For Orazio Belletini, Executive Director of FARO in Equador, rapid turnover of politicians is a constant problem: Ministers of Finance last an average of only six months in his country. Information is scarce, dispersed, highly technical and difficult for policymakers to use.  “The political landscape is characterised by ideological fragmentation and volatile coalitions”, he said. “By the time a researcher has finished his policy paper, the Minister interested in the results is no longer in office”.

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El cambiante escenario de la cooperación internacional: una visión geopolítica

Helen Milner

Durante la tercera sesión plenaria de la 12ava Conferencia Anual del GDN, la profesora Helen Milner, directora del Centro Niehaus de Globalización y Gobernanza en la Escuela Woodrow Wilson School de Princeton, se refirió a la cooperación internacional para el desarrollo desde una perspectiva geopolítica. A diferencia de los anteriores participantes de alto perfil, la Dra. Milner viene del mundo de la Ciencia Política. En su presentación sostuvo que la cooperación internacional es una parte integral de la política exterior de los países, y explicó cómo los cambios en el sistema internacional están transformando esta ayuda.

Milner inició por bosquejar la historia de la cooperación internacional y ubicar su inicio en el Plan Marshall para la reconstrucción de Europa. Destacó como los donantes tradicionales (EE.UU., Japón, Europa occidental) durante los últimos 20 años han creado un “régimen” para de Cooperación Internacional a través de acuerdos, tales como: los Principios DAC, la Declaración de Paris, el Conceso de Monterrey, las Metas del Milenio y la Agenda Accra. Sin embargo, anotó nuevos donantes, como China, Brasil e India no parecen estar siguiendo estas directrices.

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¿Qué tipo de inversión extranjera se debe promover? :Un Meta-Análisis Vertical de las externalidades de la Inversión Extranjera Directa (IED)

Durante los Premios de los finalistas de Comunicaciones de GDNET, que tuvieron lugar entre el 11 y el 12 de Enero de 2010, los participantes fueron invitados a escribir un blog para capturar los temas claves que sustentan su trabajo.

La siguiente entrada del blog es por Tomáš Havránek.

Los países en desarrollo y en transición tratan de atraer a los inversores extranjeros. Algunos les dan dinero, algunos les dan incentivos fiscales. La razón más importante detrás de estas subvenciones es que los responsables políticos creen que la Inversión Extranjera Directa (IED) tiene efectos positivos sobre las empresas nacionales. Recientemente, los investigadores en este ámbito se han centrado especialmente en la transferencia de conocimientos de los inversores extranjeros a sus proveedores locales.

Me interesé en el tema de la transferencia de conocimientos, durante mis estudios, cuando estaba trabajando como asistente en una imprenta en el este de Bohemia, República Checa. Vi cómo la empresa se benefició de la presión impuesta por las empresas extranjeras sobre la calidad y rapidez de las entregas, y cómo esa presión hizo que la empresa fuese más competitiva frente a otras empresas en una economía post-comunista.

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The emerging landscape of aid

Helen Milner

Helen Milner,  Director of the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School addressed foreign development aid from a geopolitical perspective in the fifth plenary of GDN’s 12th Annual Conference. In contrast to the previous high-profiled participants who were economists, she comes from the Political Science world. Her presentation argued how aid is an integral part of countries’ foreign policy, and how changes in the international system are transforming aid.

Professor Milner started by sketching the history of aid and locating its origins in the Marshall Plan. She highlighted how an ‘international aid regime’ has been created by the ‘traditional donors’ (USA, Japan, Western Europe) during the last 20 years through agreements, such as: DAC principles, Paris Declaration, Monterrey Consensus, Millennium Development Goals and the Accra Agenda, among others. However, new donors such as China, Brazil and India do not seem to be following these guidelines.

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Which Foreigners Are Worth Wooing? A Meta-Analysis of Vertical Spillovers from FDI

During the GDNet Awards and Medals Finalists Communications training that took place on the 11-12 January, 2010 participants were asked to write a blog to capture the key issues underpinning their work.

The following blog post is by Tomáš Havránek.

Developing and transition countries try to attract foreign investors. Some give them money, some give them tax incentives. And the most important reason behind these subsidies is that policy-makers believe that FDI has positive effects on domestic firms. Recently, researchers in this area have been focusing especially on knowledge transfer from foreign investors to their local suppliers.

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Tool to rationalize hometown investment by overseas Filipinos eyed

Alvin Ang and Jeremaiah Opiniano

During the GDNet Awards and Medals Finalists Presentation Skills Training that took place on the 11-12 January, participants were asked to write a blog to capture the key issues underpinning their work.

We feature here a blog written by Alvin Ang and Jeremaiah Opiniano, from the University of Santo Tomas Research Cluster on Culture, Education and Social Issues in the Philippines, who were last night declared the winner of the Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development (ORD).

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La segunda plenaria de la 12va Conferencia de Desarrollo Global del GDN abordó el tema de replantear las micro-finanzas

Victor Murinde

Victor Murinde

Durante muchos años, las micro-finanzas se han percibido como una especie de “varita mágica” que permite elevar el ingreso y el consumo de los individuos de bajos ingresos, ayudando así a hacer frente a la pobreza. Sin embargo, para algunos de sus partidarios, las micro-finanzas no se tratan de ingresos o consumo, sino más bien de  libertad y autonomía (Rich Rosenberg CGAP). No obstante, la percepción de las micro-finanzas está evolucionando.

Un estudio desarrollado sobre el impacto de las micro-finanzas en el sur de la India, presentado por el Prof. Dean Yang, profesor asociado de la Universidad de Michigan, muestra que el impacto de los esquemas de microcrédito son diferentes entre poblaciones. Él encontró que aquellos que ya tienen empresas deben invertir en bienes duraderos y restringir su consumo, mientras que los que no tienen o quieren invertir en negocios pueden consumir más. Lo anterior prueba que las micro-finanzas no son la “varita mágica” como sus partidarios argumentan. Read more of this post

Financial Inclusion for Development: How to get Banking to the Poorest?

Guillermo Perry

The panelists in the third Plenary Session of GDN’s 12th Annual Conference addressed how the financial sector can support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), by means of improving financial depth and access, while paying close attention to the formulation of relevant policies and the role played by its main actors.

The first panelist, Fabrizio Coricelli, Associate Researcher of the Paris School of Economics, said that poverty in developing and transitional economies can be alleviated by widening people’s access to financial services. He suggested that there are two dimensions to the problem: demand and supply and he proposed that the greatest potential for widening access lies in better supply. One promising approach is connecting social cash transfers programs to financial services, which would lower administrative costs for the banks, thereby increasing the attractiveness of carrying out business with lower income groups.

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