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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

  • Public service delivery with specific focus on civil service capabilities

    There is a growing need to better understand the role of public service delivery in a transforming economy that grows more complex with a broadening public-private transaction base. Particular areas of focus include, but are not limited to, coordination of public service delivery, motivation and incentives of public servants, and impact evaluation of process changes. Other topics related to effective public service delivery will also be considered.

  • Urbanisation and smart city solutions

    This pertains to the role of technology in enhancing urban development. Specific topics include: the role of technology in facilitating knowledge transfer, entrepreneurship and innovation; the opportunities and challenges associated with smart city solutions such better payment systems (e.g. mobile money); the role of technology in coordinating public service provision by multiple providers; the role of technology in transport management; the role of technology in energy management (e.g. smart meters). Some of these solutions have already been introduced and are becoming common which presents a good opportunity for rigorous research.

  • Employment and labour markets with particular focus on youth employment

    The issue of youth unemployment in cities has been the focus of policy. Recently, there has been a significant expansion in tertiary education that led to a substantial increase in skilled labour supply. This coupled with an increasingly service-oriented economy poses a policy challenge for a developing country like Ethiopia. In particular, there is a research gap in the understanding the demand side and the workings of the labour market. These include, frictions in the labour market like information gaps in placement and matching of skilled labour with jobs, sustainability of skilled labour demand (this can be related to emerging industrial zones in the country), spatial and vertical labour mobility, wage trajectory of skilled vs semi-skilled labour and other related issues.

  • Industrial parks and the nexus between industrial and urban development

    The past few years saw the rise of industrial parks spurred by both private and public initiatives/investments. There are future plans to establish industrial parks at an even bigger scale. Policy makers and other stakeholders are keen to better understand the challenges, prospects, and impacts of industrial parks. Some of the issues include the local input supply response to industrial parks; skilled labour demand and supply; housing and infrastructure, and trade logistics. The establishment of industrial parks and planning of new ones presents a good opportunity to conduct rigorous research.