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.
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.
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.