‘First Impressions’: New Monthly Press Review

Welcome to our first internal press review, featuring the latest publications by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance: from working papers to policy reports to entire books. Expect more from ‘First Impressions’ at the end of every month.

Our January 2013 edition presents nine new outputs — five working papers, two journal articles and two policy briefs — on issues ranging from green innovation to industrial productivity to diaspora engagement. The geographical scope is vast: from Chile to Costa Rica, China to India, Ethiopia to Syria, Moldova to the Netherlands.

UN Photo / S. Hollyman

For our first working paper of 2013, PhD fellow Ezequiel Tacsir teamed up with Gustavo Crespi from the Inter-American Development Bank to investigate the ‘Effects of innovation on employment in Latin America’. They took micro data from innovation surveys in four Latin American countries – Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay – to analyse how process and product innovation affects employment. Their results show a clear link between the introduction of new products and employment growth at company level. Read on for more.

Professor Pierre Mohnen worked with George van Leeuwen of Statistics Netherlands on this ‘Empirical analysis of green innovation for the Netherlands’. Their working paper assessed the ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ versions of the Porter hypothesis based on a green innovation model formed of three types of eco-investments and non-eco R&D. The authors weighed the effects of environmental regulation on eco-investment as well as firms’ decisions when choosing various kinds of innovations. Their results ultimately support the weak, but not the strong, version of the Porter hypothesis. Click here for more details.

Flickr / D.HuijssoonResearcher Boris Lokshin joined Professor Pierre Mohnen and two other experts to weigh the ‘Impact of external knowledge acquisition strategies on innovation’. Based on Dutch and Swiss data, the paper studied the effects of buying or sharing expertise on firms’ product innovation performance. The results suggest that both strategies have positive effects on innovation; however there is little evidence that using them simultaneously leads to higher innovation performance. Read on for more.

In a journal article for Oxford Development Studies, Dr Lili Wang and Professor Adam Szirmai considered the ‘Unexpected convergence of regional productivity in Chinese industry’. They tested the claim that regional disparities in China have sped up since reforms began in the late 1970s. Specifically, they evaluated GDP per capita, labour productivity and technical efficiency in industry in 30 regions from 1978 to 2005. The unexpected conclusion is that there has been convergence rather than divergence: in other words, more backward regions have caught up with leading regions. You can access the journal here.Flickr gp314

Researcher Mulu Gebreeyesus teamed up with Professor Pierre Mohnen for an article in World Development tagged ‘Innovation performance and embeddedness in networks: evidence from the Ethiopian footwear cluster’. Their research focused on innovation in a cluster of informal shoemaking firms in Ethiopia — namely the Mercato footwear cluster. The study reveals that, despite geographical proximity and homogeneity in social background, the firms in the cluster behave and perform differently. Read the article here.

We released two policy briefs for the IS Academy project in January 2013. Brief 12 looked at female Moldovan migrants in Italy, asking if their experiences of migration matched their expectations. Drawn from 18 interviews, the results highlight the role of migrant networks in information sharing. Brief 13 examined peacebuilding among the Syrian Diaspora in Germany. Recommendations include promoting dialogue between factions and more support for the transfer of remittances.3105316869_b4cac68609_z

Our fourth working paper, co-authored by Professor Robin Cowan and PhD fellow Anant Kamath, looked at ‘Interactive knowledge exchanges under complex social relations’. The study tested the theory that in developing countries, like India, small-world networks remain the most efficient structure for sharing information. Among the conclusions: prejudices between social groups can be overcome, enabling knowledge exchanges and learning. You can find the paper here.

Is the current ‘Innovation systems framework still useful in the new global context?’ asked Dr Michiko Iizuka in our fifth working paper of the year. She argued that the way we currently apply the innovation system may need to change substantially to address ongoing societal challenges. This is because emerging types of innovation — including user innovation, public sector innovation, social innovation and innovation for inclusive development — have different features from those of existing types. Read the paper here.

Do you have anything recently released or about to be published? If you’re a fellow, professor or researcher at UNU-MERIT (including Governance), please email: hudson@merit.unu.edu 

by Howard Hudson, Editor / Communications Coordinator at UNU-MERIT.
Images: UN Photo / S.Hollyman. Flickr / H.Tilborg / D.Huijssoon / GP314 / M.Tristan.

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