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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

  • The economic cost of unserved electricity

    In a span of three decades, Ghana experienced five episodes of power crises with increasing duration and severity. The government together with various stakeholders is working to arrest the situation. However, the first step in determining the optimal level grid expansion and tolerable level and durations of power outages is an understanding of the socio-economic costs of unserved energy.


    IGC Ghana will appreciate studies which estimate the costs of unserved energy to the various sectors and to the economy as a whole.

  • Infrastructure, output market access and agricultural sector performance

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that lack of easy access to output markets due poor infrastructure is one of the challenges hindering the agricultural sector performance.


    To what extent is infrastructure a systematic constraint on agricultural transformation in Ghana? More specifically, has the construction of major roads such as the Eastern Corridor road improved the agricultural production, marketing and economic diversification? IGC Ghana is interested in proposals which seek to answer these or similar questions.

  • Technological adoption and agriculture sector growth

    Agriculture plays a central role in employment creation as 44.3 percent of the currently employed population work in the sector. However, the sector remains dominated by smallholder enterprises with little adoption of modern farming practices and technologies such as improved seeds, fertilizer and mechanization.


    IGC research in Ghana and India shows that availability of insurance markets led farmers to invest more and also served to establish the existence of a demand for agricultural insurance in some regions. We suspect the absence of efficient markets for other inputs are hindering the adoption of modern technologies and agricultural sector growth in Ghana. We will welcome studies aimed at uncovering the challenges of the sector and proposing actionable policy measures to address same.

  • Firm dynamics and job creation

    Youth unemployment is a major concern in Ghana. There exists suggestive evidence that job growth and hence employment opportunities for the youth are driven by the emergence and entry of new firms as well as reallocation of resources from less productive to more productive firms.


    Understanding the pace of business dynamism or lack of it thereof, uncovering the constraints to effective resource reallocation and the policy options to overcome the identified constraints are critical for addressing the high level of youth unemployment in Ghana. Proposals focusing on the firm dynamic-job creation nexus are of interest to us.

  • Formalizing the informal sector: Barriers and the ways forward

    According to the latest Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS 6) 41.9 percent of the Ghanaian labour force is employed within the non-farm informal sector. The firms in the informal sector are generally small and unproductive. Moreover, World Bank’s Enterprise Survey suggests there is little movement from informality to formality.


    IGC Ghana will support studies that delve into firm level data to shed light on determinants of low productivity in the informal sector and to identify possible ways to improve productivity and employment across the sector. We are also interested in supporting proposals which seek to identify the obstacles to formalisation and policy measures to facilitate formalisation.