WORKING PAPER 46 - April 28, 2022
KEYWORDS: Anthropocene, Enlightenment, international relations, cosmology, ocean policy, world politics, worldviews, Imperial China, contemporary China, planetary cosmology, environment
Contemporary world politics is structured around the world order of nation-states in turn founded largely upon a Newtonian cosmology and an associated worldview. I develop a conceptual framework around the ‘epistemic engine’ which organizes and circulates the cosmological and institutional structures of Enlightenment modernity. Subsequently, I explore how the imperial Chinese world order-- functional until at least the late 19th century--reveals a different cosmology shaping a different world order and politics. I also explore the contemporary PRC view of the world order probing the extent to which its historical experiences can be seen to re-shape the hegemonic epistemic engine. In the final section, I draw from a paradigm of ‘oceanic temporality’ to grasp counter-finalities generated by the epistemic engine on the earth and the ocean itself. Can the counter-flows of social movements allow us to imagine a post-Enlightenment, planetary cosmology?
WORKING PAPER 45 - April 20, 2022
KEYWORDS: information, gender, improved energy technologies, field experiments, adoption, India
This study identifies the impact of information on households’ choice of energy technologies in rural communities of two Indian States: Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. I conducted a randomized control trial with an intervention in the form of information campaigns that provided information benefits and costs of household air pollution and promoted the use of improved energy technologies. This intervention varied by the type of information dissemination and the gender of the information recipient across different treatment groups. I find that the adoption of pressure cookers and improved cookstoves increased when women received information. This result was driven by the adoption rates in Kerala. In contrast, there was increased adoption of LED lamps in both states, regardless of whether women or men received information. The findings from this study underscore the importance of the gendered nature of energy use and the gender-based agency among the factors influencing the energy adoption decisions.
WORKING PAPER 44 - December 13, 2021
KEYWORDS: UNESCO, World Heritage, Human Rights, Indigenous People, Conflict, Tourism, Climate Change
This white paper provides a legal analysis to align the 1972 World Heritage Convention and the UNESCO Constitution and its commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms. It sets out recommendations for UNESCO, the World Heritage governing bodies, and States Parties to ensure properties on the World Heritage List and Tentative Lists are not sites of serious, systematic violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.
WORKING PAPER 43 - September 14, 2021
KEYWORDS: cookstoves, wood fuels, black carbon, aerosols, climate-forcing emissions, abatement costs, energy access
Nearly three billion people continue to use wood fuels for their daily cooking. The global policy discourse increasingly emphasizes clean fuels, notably gas and electricity. Yet, electricity and gas are expensive, and their supply chains are typically interrupted in rural areas. They will hence not reach the global poor soon, especially in Africa. As an alternative, this paper shows that fuel-efficient biomass stoves can contribute climate mitigation potentials in Sub-Saharan Africa that exceed the total CO2-equivalent emissions of a medium-sized European country. Abatement costs of this policy are low at $2 to 10 per ton. Furthermore, we demonstrate that cooking-related emissions will likely double by 2050. We conclude by arguing that a rapid dissemination policy should be based on two crucial steps: First, fuel-efficient stoves should be field-tested region by region and adapted to satisfy local cooking needs. Second, cookstoves that have proven to be adopted by users should be heavily subsidized at scale.
WORKING PAPER 42 - September 3, 2021
KEYWORDS: solar home system, subsidy, technology, developing countries, kerosene
We examine a solar home systems (SHS) subsidy policy of Nepal. We first estimate the effect of additional subsidy on SHS adoption and then its downstream benefits - children’s education, time allocated to agricultural and household work (both unpaid) and working for a wage. We use geographic regression discontinuity design with (cost) distance as the assignment variable. Our results show that subsidy-eligible households are about 45% more likely to adopt SHS and 43% less likely to use kerosene lamp that emits roughly 2.1 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent GWP. We find a positive effect of the SHS adoption on the grade for age with the effect being higher on girls than boys. We also find that females are about 33% more likely to participate in work for agriculture and males are 26% more likely to participate in household work. However, there is no effect on the participation rates across the labour market.
WORKING PAPER 41 - July 12, 2021
KEYWORDS: choice overload, willingness to pay, improved cookstoves, vickrey auction
Economists generally believe that more choice is beneficial, yet bigger choice sets can impose opportunity, error and cognitive costs that lower demand. We study this relationship in the context of rural energy use in low-income settings. We invited approximately 1,100 randomly selected Senegalese households to participate in second-price auctions for improved cookstoves, and exogenously varied the number and types of devices being auctioned to identify the causal impact of expanded choice on willingness to pay (WTP). Expanded choice lowered WTP for a more advanced but relatively unfamiliar cookstove by 25 percent, but had no effect on WTP for a simpler, locally-produced device. Households’ ability to compare alternatives side-by-side during multi device auctions and identify the one best suited to their needs appears to drivethese results. Our findings have implications for the design of policies that aim to introduce welfare-improving technologies in remote, rural areas.
WORKING PAPER 40 - June 30, 2021
KEYWORDS: COVID-19, community perception, Local Governance, community policing, India
This paper has conducted a literature review of the international scenario of the local governance and covid19 (including best practices) followed by an empirical examination of risk perception and state of local governance in the two most populous states in India (UP and Bihar) with a joint population of over 300 million. Plenty of work during COVID 19 suggests multiple problems, solutions and best local practices. However, very little is known about linkages between pandemic, its community perception and local response mechanism in high population countries having scarce resources. The result of logistic regression (N=2041) shows non-migrants and females perceive no risk of COVID despite having heard of Corona, showing a perception and behavioural issue that requires special local governing attention in such societies. Further, analysis reveals infection rate is high in the districts where complete elected council is not present and are only governed by chiefs of the villages. In such a deficient state of local governance, the COVID problem could be handled by community policing instead of totally relying on strict lockdown.
WORKING PAPER 39 - April 30, 2021
KEYWORDS: Aid for Health, bilateral aid, China, emerging donors, health aid, development assistance for health, foreign aid for health
China’s annual global health aid has increased substantially since the 2000s. Unlike many donors, China has no oﬃcial aid reporting obligations, nor does it voluntarily disclose detailed aid information. Because of this, several third parties have attempted to estimate China’s health aid footprint. Unfortunately, current estimates use varied deﬁnitions of health aid, geographic regions, and time spans. These distinct and diﬀering methodological approaches make it diﬃcult to compare Chinese aid to aid from other donors. Our study builds on previous tracking eﬀorts and takes them further by creating a standardized estimate using commonly accepted deﬁnitions of aid and frameworks for categorizing health projects.
These ﬁndings enable a better understanding of Chinese health aid in the absence of transparent aid reporting. We believe such an understanding could lead to better coordination, collaboration, and resource allocation for both donors and recipient countries.
WORKING PAPER 38 - March 31, 2021
KEYWORDS: Consumer demand system, QUAIDS, carbon pricing, Sub-Saharan Africa, household welfare, distribution, sustainable development
Policy makers frequently voice concerns that carbon pricing could impair economic
development in the short-run, especially in low-income countries such as Uganda. We estimate
a quadratic almost ideal demand system (QUAIDS) for energy and food items to assess how
consumers’ welfare, energy and food demand, as well as nutritional intake, can be expected to
react to a carbon price of US$40/ton. The results suggest overall progressive welfare effects in
the range of 0.1 – 4.9% across the population. We further observe declines in the demand for
electricity, kerosene and transport in the range of 4 – 20%, with concomitant shifts within food
consumption baskets, due to complementarities with cooking fuels, and income effects.
Heterogeneous demand responses across expenditure terciles and rural-urban areas reveal
significant disparities in food and calorie consumption as well as protein and micronutrient
intake due to carbon pricing. The bottom third of households exhibit nutritional declines of up
to 16%, while middle-class urban households witness increases by around 9%. Complementary
social protection policies in conjunction with carbon pricing could ease potentially adverse
effects on economic development outcomes in Uganda.
WORKING PAPER 37 - March 26, 2021
KEYWORDS: ultimate investors, bilateral foreign direct investment (FDI), phantom FDI, multinational enterprises, ultimate investing country (UIC), foreign affiliate statistics, international development, international finance, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
Official foreign direct investment (FDI) statistics track FDI via direct investing nation rather than ultimate investing country (UIC). If a FDI project is sourced through an overseas subsidiary, normal FDI metrics will register that investment as being from the third country, not the home country of the multinational. There is a growing awareness that the large amount of FDI channeled through special purpose vehicles and offshore financial centers therefore makes official statistics unreliable: investment from certain nations may be significantly under or over counted. According to official statistics, the United States ranks 11th in terms of total amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam. As Vietnam joins the ranks of lower middle-income countries, and becomes more integrated into global value chains, a more representative methodology for calculating FDI would help Vietnam thoughtfully engage with foreign investors and support Vietnam's development objectives. This report, commissioned by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Hanoi includes: 1) A literature review of FDI databases and FDI tracking methods, 2) a comparative analysis of the existing methods for tracking FDI via UIC, 3) a discussion on the feasibility of implementing those methods for Vietnam, 4) a novel method for estimating Vietnam’s inward FDI via UIC, 6) recommendations to USAID for further research and analysis.