First Impressions: Press Review February 2013

Welcome to our 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.

February 2013 brings five new working papers, on issues ranging from IQ performance to innovation capacity to fixing the global climate. Geographically, the focus spreads from the Netherlands to Brazil and across 24 developing countries.

Pakistanis affected by their country's widespread, torrential floods receive wheat flour and other provisions from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Alipur, in the Muzaffargarh district of Punjab Province. Senior researcher Huub Meijers joined two other experts to research the ‘Importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for measuring IQ’. Essentially, this working paper provides an economic model of the way people behave during an IQ test. The main findings are that both intrinsic (questions that people like to work on) and extrinsic motivation (incentive payments) increase the amount of time invested and as a result performance. Additionally, incentive payments appear to be more important than the size of the reward. Read on for more.

Professor Paulo N. Figueiredo co-authored a working paper on ‘Firms’ Innovation Capability-building Paths and the Nature of Changes in Learning Mechanisms’. Based on fieldwork evidence from 13 natural resource-processing firms in Brazil, from 1950-2000s, this study found that firms which continuously improve the quality and intensity of their learning achieve the highest innovation capabilities. Figueiredo’s novel approach highlights the nature and dynamics of learning and its role as a primary source of firms’ international innovation performance. It also challenged recent approaches that over-emphasize the value of open learning processes. Download the paper here.

Burning steel in Paraná, BrazilIn their latest working paper, Professor Joan Muysken and PhD fellow Manuel Müllers analyse Dutch labour market flows between 1980 and 2010. They focus on four labour market states in the working age population: employment, unemployment, not working and disabled. Their data enables researchers to focus on medium-term dynamics in the labour market across the above categories, as well as the impact of institutional changes on levels of employment and disability. Get the paper and data here.

Professor Pierre Mohnen and PhD fellow Jun Hou weigh up the ‘Complementarity between internal knowledge creation and external knowledge sourcing in developing countries’. Based on firm level data from 24 developing countries, their working paper examines the roles of internal R&D efforts (MAKE) and external technology sourcing (BUY) in fostering productivity in manufacturing firms. They ask if MAKE can be a substitute for BUY or if the two strategies are complementary, as demonstrated in some developed countries. Their data-led investigation highlights the key role of external technology acquisition in manufacturing industries in low-income countries. You can find the paper here.

Senior researcher Adriaan van Zon joined Professor Paul A. David to design for ‘An Optimal ‘Tech Fix’ Path to Global Climate Stability’. Their research investigated a programme of technological changes that could halt global warming via a timely transition  to a ‘green’ (zero net CO2 emission) production regime. Simulations focused on two climate ‘tipping points’: the first bringing higher than expected rates of damage from warming-driven extreme weather events, the second setting the latest point before which transition to a carbon-free global production regime must be completed if we are to enable sustainable development and economic growth in a stabilized global environment. Access the full paper here and see the video above with co-author Dr Adriaan van Zon.

by Howard Hudson, Editor / Communications Coordinator at UNU-MERIT.
Images: UN Photo / Amjad Jamal; Flickr / J.Rubin

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