Awarding innovative development research and ideas

Winners of the Global Development Awards and Medals Competition 2012

Launched in 2000 with the support of the Government of Japan, the Global Development Awards and Medals Competition aims to recognize innovative ideas and to encourage talented young researchers. This year, 12 finalists had the opportunity to present their papers, research proposals and projects on inequality, social protection and inclusive growth at GDN 14th Annual Conference. Interesting discussions emerged throughout the conference’s plenaries and parallel sessions where researchers presented their innovative work.

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Africa’s challenge: The ‘jobless growth’

Edited by Zeinab Sabet and Shahira Emara

For over 40 years, Africa has not witnessed such a rapid growth as recently. Out of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies, 6 are African! However, such growth is not always coupled with a decrease in inequality or a remarkable reduction in poverty. While some African countries have experienced growth with significant reduction in poverty, poverty rate remains high in most countries regardless of their economic performance. In the latter cases, growth has been even named by some studies ‘jobless growth’. This is where the African challenge remains.

Witness Simbanegavi, Director of Research at the African Economic Research Consortium, argues that growth is not being channelled in the right way to benefit the vulnerable people. On the other hand, and unlike the Latin American region, Africa lacks strong social protection policies. According to Simbanegavi, what Africa needs now is a pro-poor growth coupled with improved social protection policies; only this paradigm can lead to an enhancement of the welfare of the poorest.

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Philippines: Making social protection more inclusive

By Felipe F. Salvosa II, Publications Division Chief, Philippine Institute for Development Studies

Josef T. Yap, Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS)

Josef T. Yap attending session during the GDN 14th Annual Development Conference in MAnila, Philippines

How does 7.8% GDP growth feel?
For big players in the Philippines, there is a lot of reason to celebrate, the domestic economy being the fastest-growing in Asia in the first quarter of 2013. Josef T. Yap, President of the think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), explains that the Philippines has leap-frogged into a service economy without going through extensive industrialisation  He argues that positive developments, are only at the macro level, and “relatively high poverty incidence and persistent inequality remain important concerns.”

To address this concern, the Aquino administration has prioritized the conditional cash transfer program- known locally as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps (“Bridge for Filipino Families”)- and PIDS researchers led by Senior Research Fellow Celia M. Reyes are providing research support to make it more effective and remove “leakages” to non-poor beneficiaries.

At the Joint Parallel Session co-sponsored by the East Asian Development Network, PIDS, and GDN Japan during the GDN 14th Annual Development Conference , Reyes called for a “deepening” of the 4Ps scheme, already the biggest social protection program ever conceived by the Philippines with a budget of 39.5 billion pesos and three million beneficiary-families in 2012.  The objective is two-fold: social assistance through cash assistance and social development through investments in human capital, particularly in health and education.

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Questioning the effectiveness of the social protection mandatory regulations for maids in Ecuador

Maids in Ecuador represent one of the sectors that suffer from low income and poor social security. In 2008, a new regulation was implemented, mandating maids’ enrollment in social security. Visits control of households kicked off in 2010, ensuring thus compliance by household employers. A minimum wage was also imposed to ensure a better social protection of maids.

Although such policies appear advantageous, at first glance, for maids in Ecuador; they remain questionable.

Sara Wong (Polytechnic University – ESPOL) argues that this social protection policy resulted in a decrease not only of the number of maids working without social insurance, but also in the number of maids employed.

At the GDN 14th Annual Conference, Wong proposed a different angle to look into the effectiveness the Ecuadorian mandatory regulations for maids, to see whether the compulsory requirements of the mandatory minimum wage and social security coverage have had a negative impact on maids’ employment. The research proposal aims to provide complementary policies ensuring social protection benefits for maids in Ecuador.

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To part-time or not to part-time? Chilean Case

To promote female labor force participation, part-time jobs are encouraged; they are seen as a way for women to balance paid work, care and chores activities. Evidence from developed countries links part-time jobs with lower hourly earnings. On the contrary, in Latin America, the same correlation are positive, suggesting a part-time premium. Andrea Bentancor (ComunidadMujer) in her paper ‘The Part-time Premium Enigma: An Assessment of the Chilean Case’ uses recently developed technique (identification through heteroskedasticity) that identifies the effect of working part-time on hourly earnings on Chilean data; she finds that such premium disappears and that women are penalised when they access to a formal/salaried part-time job. (See presentation by Andrea Bentancor)

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Little cash into small businesses to enhance entrepreneurship in Brazil

In general, it is suggested that capital is essential for starting a business and liquidity constraint tends to exclude those with insufficient funds at their disposal. The paper ‘Direct and Indirect Effects of Cash Transfer on Entrepreneurship‘ by Rafael P. Ribas (University of Illinois) examines the importance of financial constraints in explaining entrepreneurship among poor households by exploring the liquidity shock promoted by a large-scale conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in Brazil. (See presentation by Rafael P. Ribas)

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Addressing inequality and poverty in the Pacific Islands

By Danileen Kristel Parel, Supervising Research Specialist, Philippines Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and Felipe F. Salvosa IIPublications Division Chief, Philippines Institute for Development studies

Participants during the GDN 14th Annual conference

Pacific Asian Participants from the GDN 14th Annual Development Conference, June 2013

Pacific Island countries are facing challenges in addressing low income economic growth with high levels of vulnerabilities resulting from the impact of global economic crises. The three presentations during this session at the 2013 GDN Annual Conference tackle the issues specific to inclusive growth, poverty and inequality in the Pacific Island Countries. Speakers argue that for inclusive growth to be achieved, barriers to the participation of the poor in economic activities should be removed. According to Neelesh Gounder, University of South Pacific, broader macroeconomic growth policies like trade liberalisation need to be considered to promote growth in a broader sense.

Experience from Fiji

Masilina Tuiloa Rotuivaqali, University of South Pacific focus on the importance of social protection in economic growth. He claims that by paying attention to social protection policies, increased productivity and social stability can be achieved. Prior to 2008, social policies that focus on vulnerable groups have not existed. Although some social policies have been implemented in Fiji in 2008, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu still remain to have very limited formal social protection in place. Thus, there is a need for an integrated social policy framework in all three countries, namely Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. This framework should be at the grassroots level to include relevant vulnerable groups.

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Growth, inequality and social protection: The missing links

Issues related to social protection are becoming very crucial in the aftermath of the global financial crises, but also in the growing inequality in the developing world. Indeed there is a growing consciousness of the importance of social benefits as a measure to protect people from becoming trapped in poverty, to empower them to seize opportunities, to help workers adjust to changes, to deal with unemployment. The importance of social policies and social protection systems that address inequality for long term sustainability and inclusive growth should be taken into consideration when thinking about development policy.

The 14th Global Development Network’s Annual Conference on ‘Inequality, social protection, and inclusive growth’ is taking place in Manila, the Philippines from June19-22nd 2013 in partnership with Asian Development Bank (ADB), East Asian Development Network (EADN) and The Philippines Institute fro Development Studies (PIDS). The opening plenary session, a policy roundtable discussion, set the tone for what will be discussed over the next three days of the conference regarding the overall nexus between inequality, social protection and inclusive growth.

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Changing mindsets and policy priorities: Can growth and inequality reduction go hand in hand?

“This is a cross post based on GDN’s President Pierre Jacquet’s Op-Ed on the GDN 14th annual Conference, taking place in Manila, Philippines. The conference theme is “Inequality, Social Protection and Inclusive Growth”, with a focus on promoting research capacity building to inspire better policies.”

Pierre Jacquet

Pierre Jacquet, GDN President during the GDN 13th Annual Conference.

As concerns of the spread of poverty and social inequality across the world, and in developing countries in particular; research to impact policy decision must thus be driven by those who live among it, rather than international experts and aid agencies. GDN’s vision to bridge social science research and policy takes up an approach that ensures maximum effective as well as efficient communication. This year’s annual conference aims not only to raise the voice of developing country researchers, but also to provide them with a unique chance to debate their views and their research against comments, insights and advice of the experts. Also on the debate whether a policy focus on inequality reduction weakens or strengthens the growth objectives of a country, GDN advocates, through this conference, that the frustration with insufficient results does justify more research and more debate, which also entails value-for-money in learning about how to better meet challenges and influence effective policies and priorities.

Both the rise of poverty and inequalities in industrial countries, and their persistence in developing countries amidst a diversity of experiences, suggest that the empirical design of social protection schemes and of “inclusive growth” policies is still a mostly unchartered agenda. In a context in which policy priorities are largely the results of local political economy considerations rather than general discussions on what “should be” done, it is crucial to expose facts and document policy results, because this is what can powerfully change domestic agendas. This is what GDN’s research experience confirms, for instance through the recently completed research program “Supporting Policy Research to Inform Agricultural Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia“. This is also what all participants in the GDN Conference in Manila will help do.

Fighting Human Trafficking: GDN funds Innovative Development Projects

This is a cross-post based on GDN’s Feature Story, “Fighting Human Trafficking: GDN funds Innovative Development Projects”. The post is based on the GDN 13th Annual Conference Awards and Medals Competition 2nd place winner, Hasina Kharbhih, for the work of ‘Impulse NGO Network‘.

Hasina Kharbhih, Team Leader, Impulse NGO Network receiving GDN Award

Hasina Kharbhih, Team Leader, Impulse NGO Network receiving GDN Award

Researcher capacity building is clearly driven by the importance of communication in bridging research and policy. Our Research Communication Training Workshops are thus an integral pre-conference activity, conducted by GDNet  Research Communication Training facilitation team in collaboration with CommsConsult, that helps researchers better present their research to create a bigger impact with their ideas.  Last year’s GDN awarded winner Hasina Kharbhih sets an example for effective  engagement of policymakers in  creating an impact with research. Her research team utilized a range of communications tools to support the research and help ensure wider impact. This included publishing a formal research report that presents the research findings, in addition to conducting a press release to involve the media and engage Indian government stakeholders in discussions of the findings.

To provide a long lasting, holistic solution to the rampant human trafficking problem, Impulse has created the Meghalaya Model which not only rescues, rehabilitates and reintegrates victims of human trafficking, but also oversees prosecution of the traffickers and raises awareness to prevent human trafficking. What makes the Model special is its ability to get various stakeholders involved. “We understand that the issue of human trafficking is too big to be handled only by a few NGOs. The government agencies and other stakeholders have to be involved,” says Hasina Kharbhih, the Team Leader of Impulse. The Model brings together civil society, NGOs, media, educational institutions, government departments, judiciary, law enforcement, and Border Security Forces (BSF) to collectively fight against the problem.

Interested to learn more about the Meghalaya Model and the experience of Impulse NGO Network? Watch our interview with Hasina.

As part of GDNet’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, a panel was held prior to the GDN Conference where a few rigorous, robust and representative cases of knowledge into use in the policy process were selected. Hasina’s case was chosen as one of the Most Significant Cases where a number of interesting policy influencing factors arise.

This year, the GDN 14th Annual Global Development Conference on Inequality, Social Protection and Inclusive Growth will be held on June 19-21, 2013 at the Asian Development Bank Headquarters in Manila, Philippines.

Don’t miss any discussions and stay up to date with conference proceedings and messages through social media:

  • Read the daily blog on GDNet to catch up on plenaries and parallels discussions and listen to interviews from speakers and participants
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Download full Conference Note here!