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Development Policy Review January 2024 round-up

Written by Annalisa Prizzon

Image credit:Book lot on table Image license:Tom Hermans / Unsplash

The first issue of Development Policy Review for 2024 is now available. Development Policy Review is an online-only peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the relationship between research and policy in all aspects of international development. It covers a wide range of social science disciplines, intellectual persuasions, institutional backgrounds, and regions.

Before we dive into the articles of this first issue, I am excited to announce that we recently published a special issue on Pacific Perspectives on Aid and Development. As the lead editor, I made it my priority to increase the representation of voices and perspectives from scholars in the Global South. However, I noticed that many article submissions from authors in the Global South were not accepted for publication.

To address this imbalance, we wanted to offer a platform for Pacific scholars to lead the conversation on a topic that is usually led by outsiders. Our goal was to elevate the voices, knowledge, and perspectives of Pacific scholars and challenge prevailing development orthodoxies where necessary. I want to thank the special guest editors, Vijay Naidu (University of the South Pacific), Regina Scheyvens (Massey University), and Terence Wood (Australian National University), for bringing together fantastic and insightful short papers from Pacific scholars.

Moving on to the latest issue, here is a summary of the rationale and research questions of the ten articles you will find in the first edition of 2024.

  • Policy coherence for development. Promoting coherence for sustainable development is a crucial way to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, but it has been neglected in policy discussions that have mostly focused on financing the agenda. In their article, Niels Keijzer, Lina Galvis, and Sarah Delputte propose a relational perspective that challenges the notion of third countries as passive recipients of (in)coherent OECD policy. They analyse how the fisheries policy preferences of the European Union interact with those of Ghana.

  • The role of NGO–government relations in health and education service provision. In their article Rachel Robinson and her co-authors have conducted a study to examine how the relationship between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governments impact the reported outcomes of NGO service delivery. In low- and middle-income countries, NGOs often provide services that are typically provided by high-income states, such as education and healthcare. However, such service provision requires NGOs to interact with the government. Currently, there is not much research on whether the relationship between NGOs and governments affects the delivery of services to the beneficiaries. The researchers have identified five types of constructive relationships between NGOs and governments, ranked on a spectrum from high to low engagement. These are collaboration, contracting, consultation, advocacy, and substitution.

  • Development effectiveness principles and development outcomes. Rachel Gisselquist, Patricia Justino, and Andrea Vaccaro's article examines the relationship between development effectiveness principles and development outcomes. Their study finds that the empirical relationship between currently available data and development outcomes across countries is weak at best. Data limitations account for much of the lack of evidence. While some limitations could be resolved with simple adjustments to indicators and data collection, many are related to difficulties inherent in measuring the four principles.

  • Informal work in Kenya and Tanzania. Lone Riisgaard and coauthors investigate the reality of work for people in the informal economy in Kenya and Tanzania and analyse related social protection challenges. Formal social protection systems, such as health insurance and representation, are often biased in favour of formal workers, thereby excluding most of the world's working population who make a living in the informal economy.

  • Gender gap in unpaid care and housework in India. In their article Athary Janiso, Prakash Kumar Shukla, and Bheemeshwar Reddy conducted a study to measure the distribution of unpaid housework and care work between men and women in India. The study also explores the factors that influence the allocation of time for these responsibilities. Despite economic progress, women still bear a disproportionate burden when it comes to unpaid housework and care work. However, a comprehensive analysis of the gender gap in terms of time allocation for these responsibilities has not yet been conducted in India due to the lack of national-level data.

  • Girls’ schooling and gender equality. Investing in the education of girls in low- and middle-income countries is crucial to promoting gender equity. There are gender barriers that prevent girls from enrolling and completing their education, and investing in girls' schooling has significant economic and human development benefits. In their article, Chris Desmond and his co-authors question whether it's appropriate to focus development assistance solely on improving girls' school enrollment, rather than prioritizing education for both girls and boys while also addressing gender inequality throughout their lives.

  • Determinants of poverty among indigenous people in Mexico. Mexico faces a significant challenge in eradicating poverty, which is particularly difficult for Indigenous communities. In 2018, seven out of every 10 Indigenous people lived in poverty. Unfortunately, there is limited literature available on the socioeconomic and contextual factors behind Indigenous poverty in Mexico, and even less research on the Guerrero Mountain Region. That's why Jorge Mora-Rivera, Isael Fierros-González, and Fernando García-Mora have written an article aimed at identifying the determinants of income and multidimensional poverty in this region.

  • The implications of Uber’s digital labour platform and labour relations in South Africa. With the increasing rate of unemployment in South Africa, new forms of digital work are emerging which go beyond traditional legal definitions and discussions about work. Uber's digital labour platform has the potential to decrease unemployment and enhance the standard of living of households in South Africa. In their article, Welmah Mutengwe, Adrino Mazenda, and Moreblessing Simawu analyze the nature of employment via digital platforms to evaluate how such employment aligns with South African labour law and regulations, and the role of the Department of Employment and Labor in this regard.

  • Inclusion of refugees and migration in the Jordan Compat. In 2016, the Government of Jordan and the European Union (EU) signed the Jordan Compact, which allowed 200,000 Syrian refugees to work in Jordan. In return, Jordan would have better access to the EU market for its exports. This agreement marked a significant shift for Jordan's humanitarian sector. However, while the agreement did expand services and included elements of labour transitions and livelihood support, these benefits were only available to Syrian refugees and Jordanians. Other vulnerable refugees and migrant workers were not considered. In this article, Shaddin Almasri explores how the Jordan Compact affected refugee aid and inclusion for Syrians, and its impact on other refugees and migrant workers in Jordan.

  • Child streetism in Nigerian urban centres. Child streetism is a term used to describe the difficult situations that children experience when forced to work, live, or survive on the streets. This is a complex issue that is prevalent in urban areas worldwide due to poverty. In this article, David Ogunkan summarizes the factors that contribute to child streetism, the various risks associated with it such as violence, gang activity, and drug abuse, as well as the intervention policies and programs in place to support street children in Nigeria.