Economic Policy and Governance

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  • The global economy is in an unprecedented crisis. The financial crisis is undermining the real economy while climate change is accelerating. The increase in global food prices interacting with the failure of the world to develop timely alternatives to oil dependence is exacerbating the levels of hunger suffered by the poor. From foundational and responsive perspectives, this UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) programme looks at governance in the sense of the existing structures in the world and seeks to identify the coordination troubles that prohibit concerted, effective policy solutions to the grave problems facing us today. The programme considers the political economy of decision-making, the impact of the economic crisis, the new policy model in Latin America, trade and industrial policy, and land issues at local level.

    Twinning

    This programme will be implemented with the University of Ghana and an array of other partners in Africa and elsewhere, including Asia and Latin America. Funding for twinning is the major concern.

    Focal Points

    Focal points for this programme are UNU-WIDER Director Finn Tarp, Deputy Director Tony Addison, and Research Fellow Danielle Resnick.

    Purpose

    The overall purpose of this programme is to respond to the need for an effective economic policy at local, national, regional and global levels involving different types of new knowledge to alleviate the negative impacts of the triple crisis of the global economy. In addition, the programme will generate insights on the political economy of food policy formulation and implementation, industrial policy and appropriate institutions for the management of land resources.

    Approach

    The implementation of this programme will include a series of individual projects focused on governance and institutions, the political economy of food, appropriate economic policy, trade and industrial policy. Both methodological and country level studies will be pursued.

    Gender

    The gender dimension is a cross-cutting challenge that will be taken into account throughout UNU-WIDER research projects by participants, project directors, paper authors and others.

    Target Audience

    The main users of the outputs of this programme will be analysts in economics and food ministries as well as practitioners in bi-lateral and multi-lateral donor agencies. In addition, the research will lead to increased knowledge about the international food price crisis, and the need for industrial policy, which are important in both international and national policy debates.

    Intended Impact

    Impact: Influencing policymaking at the international level
    Target: The targeted audience includes international policymakers, as well as the general public more broadly.
    How: This programme will develop research insights about a range of topics including, e.g., the international food policy crisis and recommendations for improved global policy formulation in the post-crisis period.

    Impact: Influencing policymaking at the national level
    Target: The targeted audience includes national policymakers, as well as the general public more broadly.
    How: This programme will develop research insights about a range of topics including, e.g., the international food policy crisis and recommendations for improved global policy formulation in the post-crisis period.

    Impact: Rethink/revisit existing theories/policies
    Target: The target audience includes academics (researchers and teachers) and policymakers interested in issues of good governance at the local and global levels.
    How: The programme will include innovative analysis and synthesis of country level studies and micro-economic surveys and survey data.

    Impact: Capacity development in developed/developing countries
    Target: The target audience includes researchers and policymakers in both developed and developing countries.
    How: This will be achieved through knowledge dissemination and capacity building through research collaborations, conferences and training seminars.

    Research Findings

    This programme will generate new knowledge related to understanding the background and causes as well as impact of, for example, the global food crisis and the challenges of improved governance at the local and global levels. As such, it will reinforce the role of UNU as a generator of critically needed policy-relevant research in the light of major global economic challenges.

    Policy Bridging

    Policy briefs will be elaborated for the core programme outputs and UNU-WIDER’s new blog and the WIDER Angle e-newsletter will help bridge as well. In addition, this programme will implement a long series of seminars and conferences. Collaboration with the Brookings Institution is expected to help optimize UNU impact.

    Value Added

    This programme will put UNU in focus as a home for in-depth, high-quality research on issues related to economic policy and governance. This will contribute to strengthening non-partisan analysis and policy formulation in light of the global economic crisis.

    Dissemination

    Outputs of this programme include research reports, academic papers and two book volumes to be published by academic publishers. These outputs will be disseminated through presentations in local, national and international seminars, workshops and conferences.

    Timeline/Programme Cycle

    The project began in January 2010 and will continue through the biennium 2012-2014.

    Evaluation

    The progress of the programme will be monitored by the number and quality of conferences organized successfully and the publications that result. Mechanisms used to determine whether the programme successfully fulfilled its purpose will include the frequency of WIDER Angle e-newsletter hits on the website; book sales statistics; downloads of research papers; WIDER staff presentations at seminars and conferences; and staff contributions to professional work in the UN, educational institutions and other international organizations.

    Challenges

    The compilation of the necessary data and statistics for cross-cutting studies of global food issues and good governance is a time-consuming process, and may take longer than planned. In addition, reviewing and accepting academic publications is beyond the control of UNU-WIDER. Challenges also include the timely recruitment of new UNU-WIDER staff.

    Expected Duration

    The programme is expected to run for a duration of 60 months, from 1 January 2010 through 31 December 2014.

  • Activities within the Programme will involve cooperation between the UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) and the UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research.

  • Prof. Finn Tarp, Director
    United Nations University
    World Institute for Development Economics Research
    Katajanokanlaituri 6B, 00160
    Helsinki, Finland

    T: +358 9 615-9911
    F: +358 9 6159-9333
    E-mail: 
    Website: http://www.wider.unu.edu/