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Research priorities

The IGC supports research focused on four themes:

State: This theme investigates how to improve the capacity of the public sector in developing countries to effectively deliver public goods and services that support economic growth. This includes issues such as governance and public sector management, public finance and taxation, political economy, and conflict.

Firms: This theme aims to generate knowledge related to firm capabilities and job creation. This work covers all types of firms: large, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and farms, in both formal and informal sectors. Research topics include the determinants of firm productivity and policies to stimulate trade.

Cities: This theme explores what makes cities effective centres of economic prosperity, addressing both the drivers of and constraints to growth. Issues include the economics of agglomeration, improving infrastructure and service provision, building affordable housing markets, and migration.

Energy: This theme focuses on the significant role that access to reliable energy plays in shaping the growth paths of developing countries. Topics include improving access to and quality of energy services for households and firms, rural electrification, energy efficiency, and the effects of energy consumption on health and the environment.

For more detailed information on research priorities by theme and country, please use the filters below. All applicants are strongly encouraged to view the global priorities, as well as those related to the country/s they are interested in.

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Research Theme

  • Understanding the effects of decentralisation on urbanisation

    The number of Districts (local government areas) in Ghana has increased from 110 in 1994 to 216 currently with the aim of “bringing development closer to the people” through development.  The studies required in this area should look at measuring the contribution of decentralisation and the creation of new districts to development and urbanisation.

  • Improving connectivity within Ghanaian cities for increased productivity

    For a city to support high and continues growth in productivity of its inhabitants, it must continue to make it easy for people to move around and connect with job and other opportunities.  The studies required in this area include those that examine the determinants of traffic in the cities – such as road networks, public transport, road usage etc.

  • Improving grid services and cost recovery

    One of the challenges of building a secure and reliable power grid in the emerging economies is tariff under-recovery: tariffs are generally not cost reflective and many consumers default. As a result utilities lack adequate financial resources to maintain and upgrade the power grid, which in turn, provides a pretence for some consumer groups to default or resist necessary tariff reviews.


    We will therefore support innovative and policy relevant research proposals which look into the area of tariff recovery and improved grid services.

  • Technical and behavioural energy efficiency

    It is widely acknowledged that energy efficiency technologies and measures have high social and private benefits. The government of Ghana has rolled out a number of measures to promote energy efficiency technologies such as the introduction of LED bulbs and the refrigerator rebate. Currently the government is operating a policy regime where only appliances that meet minimum efficiency and performance standards are allowed into the market. However, the environmental and economic impacts of these interventions have not been consistently evaluated.


    IGC Ghana will support proposals which seek to vigorously evaluate the social and private net benefits of such interventions, the findings of which could be used to underpin further interventions either in Ghana or elsewhere.


    In addition, we are interested in studies which explore insights from behavioural economics to “nudge” energy efficiency and conservation further in Ghana.

  • The economics of under-grid and off-grid rural electrification in Ghana

    At 80%, Ghana has one of the highest accesses to electricity in Africa. In addition to the grid expansion, the Ministry of Power is piloting mini-grid electrification projects on a number of remote Islands with plans to roll out further mini-grid projects in the future.


    We are interested in two strands of research on rural electrification. First, we would like research to shed light on the economics and policy implications of extending electricity to the “under grid” households, (i.e. households which, per definition, have access but are not connected to the grid).


    The second strand relates to mini-grid electrification projects. We are interested in research projects which will work closely with officials of the Ministry of Power to study the impacts of mini-grid electrification on wealth and employment outcomes of the Island communities.