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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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  • What impacts will the regional power pool have, and are the planned investments in transmission adequate?

    With large hydropower dams in construction and generation capacity almost doubling by 2019, the most pressing (but not the only) questions in Uganda’s energy sector evolve around distribution and transmission. What impact(s) will the regional power pool have on lessening the percentage of the population, with no access to electricity?

  • Does Uganda underinvest in energy efficiency measures?

    Increasing energy efficiency would allow serving more customers with the same generation capacity. Does the current pricing structure incentivise consumers according to this trade-off? What can the government do to achieve the right level of energy efficiency investments nationwide?

  • Rural electrification: Willingness to pay and the social rate of return

    Rural consumers’ willingness and ability to pay for electricity is low and yet research has shown that electricity access increases productivity, improves education and health outcomes. Subsidizing access and/or consumption of electricity for the rural population can therefore form part of the formula to enable poverty reduction and economic growth. Unfortunately, evidence required to fine-tune government schemes for rural electrification is scarce. On the demand side, several important variables require more research: (i) The rural population’s willingness to pay for connections and consumption and (ii) The benefits expected from subsidizing these consumers (the social rate of return).

  • Modelling Uganda’s energy demand and the least cost electrification strategy

    Costs of transmission and generation depend on various factors in the local environment. Calibrating a sophisticated model of local demand and supply yields an essential tool to calculate least-cost electrification strategies. Such a model would allow systematic comparison of different assumptions, technologies, and the build-up of scenarios.

  • Macroeconomic management

    Macroeconomic policymakers are increasingly focused on how monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policies should be set to manage expected future natural resource revenues. At the same time, government is under pressure to borrow against future resource revenues to finance infrastructure investment. What lessons do the experiences of other recently resource-rich economies offer to help understand the debt management and macroeconomic policymaking challenges presented by large but uncertain natural resource wealth? Is there scope for greater regional macroeconomic policy coordination?