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Development Policy Review March 2023 round-up

Written by Annalisa Prizzon

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

The second issue of Development Policy Review for 2023 is now out. As a reminder, Development Policy Review is an online-only peer-reviewed journal focusing on the links between research and policy in all aspects of international development. It does so across the spectrum of social science disciplines, intellectual persuasions, institutional backgrounds and regions.

Here is a summary of the rationale and findings of the articles you will find in the second issue of 2023.

  • Inclusiveness of women in maize supply chains in Uganda. Faced by imperfect information about the performance of value chain actors, transactions are often based on perceptions. Inaccurate perceptions may result in inefficient value chains. Biased perceptions, especially about women, may affect inclusiveness. In their article, Bjorn Van Campenhout and Anusha De compare perceptions of farmers, input dealers, traders, and processors in Uganda's maize value chain. They found that the sex of the actor rated does not affect the rating they receive.

  • Relation between seed and fertilizer, and child labour in Malawi. Sub-Saharan African governments have subsidized farm inputs—fertilizer and seed especially—to increase food production by small-scale farmers to improve food security. A potential drawback of such schemes is that they may encourage farmers to put their children to work in the fields, harming their education. The article by Raymond Boadi Frempong found that the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) increased child labour. The effect, however, was relatively small.

  • Kenyan solar market power. Research on global value chains (GVCs) has tended to overlook the agency of the local firm when it comes to processes of upgrading. In their article on the value chain for solar systems in Kenya, Ulrich Elmer Hansen and coauthors concluded that local firms pursue different upgrading pathways in order to be competitive and showed the underlying business strategies whereby firms pursue different upgrading pathways.

  • Wage returns to workplace training in Myanmar. In their article, Henrik Hansen and co-authors examined workplace training provision and private returns to training in Myanmar, a country with a severely constrained formal educational system and under-performing private sector. Among several findings, they measured that the wage returns to training are particularly high for women and among the least educated workers.

  • Bio-pharma in Iran. In their article Ali Babaee and co-authors analysed the drivers behind the expansion of biopharmaceutical enterprises in Iran. They found that bio-pharma emerged owing to the efforts of a small group who successfully worked together to master the technology, overcome institutional obstacles and widespread scepticism.

  • How partnerships can translate into local development policies. Partnerships between governments, private companies, and non-governmental organizations are increasingly popular tools for policy implementation. Much research attention has been paid to the formation and design of partnerships and how they can improve their development impact but there is little on how partnerships translate into local development policies. The article by Oda Hustad highlights the importance of discursive alliances in policy networks when policy ideas are localized into development policies.

  • The lack of inclusion of national experts in development policy-making. An on-going debate tries to understand whether and how the identity of aid workers (e.g. nationality, race, etc.) can contribute to inequality within various aid relationships. In their article and in the context of Ghana, Palash Kamruzzaman and Emmanuel Kumi found that international development experts influence development policy and practice in a way that excludes national experts. They also identify competition among national experts.

  • Evidence-based policy-making. Although the field of evidence-informed policy-making has grown significantly in the last 20 years, little is written about how it manifests within government policy, and whether it makes a meaningful difference to development outcomes. The article by Ruth Stewart maps clear shifts within evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) systems over time in the production of evidence and in the implementation of evidence approaches.

  • Indigenous knowledge serving climate adaptation in Africa. Communities across the global south use their rich indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) to predict weather events and climate hazards. ILK may assist efforts to address climate change challenges in Africa and make subsequent decisions regarding climate adaptation. In their article, Walter Leal Filho and co-authors found that, despite being acknowledged as a valuable resource for climate adaptation, current national adaptation policies on the African continent still show serious gaps in effectively integrating ILK systems within the legal frameworks to reduce vulnerability.