James Dzansi

James Dzansi is a Country Economist at IGC Ghana. He works with researchers and policymakers to promote evidence-based policy. Before joining the IGC, James worked for the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change where he led several analyses to inform UK energy policy. Previously, he served as a Lecturer at the Jonkoping international Business School. His research interests are in development economics, corporate governance, energy economics and energy policy. James holds a PhD, MSc and BA in Economics, and LLM in Petroleum Taxation and Finance.

Content by James Dzansi
  • Blog post

    Can the world afford an increase in Africa’s share of global emissions?

    Despite contributing the least to climate change, many African countries experience the brunt of its impacts, yet they may have to increase their share of global emissions whilst targeting climate change adaptation. The UN Secretary-General characterises the main hurdle preventing collective and decisive climate action as a climate of mistrust. Beyond this mistrust, there...

    7 Dec 2022 | James Dzansi

  • Blog post

    The promise and pitfall of technology: Evidence from tax collection in Ghana

    Information technology (IT) systems are potentially transformative tools to increase local tax capacities. However, they must be carefully designed not only to increase tax collection but to minimise unintended outcomes. From a field experiment in Ghana, we find that technology improves local tax collection by expanding the effective tax base and improving compliance....

    8 Dec 2021 | James Dzansi, Anders Jensen, David Lagakos, Henry Telli

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Real-time economic impacts of COVID-19 in Ghana

    To better inform policy decisions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this project collected high-frequency data and produced economic indicators in real-time during the crisis. We focused on two economic indicators: weekly urban employment statistics and monthly electricity usage. Employment statistics are calculated based on weekly online surveys and electricity...

    16 Apr 2021 | James Dzansi, Minki Kim, David Lagakos, Henry Telli

  • Blog post

    Women's employment during the pandemic in Ghana: A tale of vulnerability and resilience

    Women have traditionally been more vulnerable in the labour market, more underrepresented and the nature of their employment less secure. While the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures to contain it hit women's employment the hardest, they were also the more resilient and rebounded much faster than men. Editor’s note: This article is part of our International Women’s...

    29 Mar 2021 | James Dzansi, Minki Kim, David Lagakos, Henry Telli

  • Blog post

    Adopt an Enhanced Revenue Mobilisation System to increase IGFs

    The economic disruptions of COVID-19 have put local government revenue in Ghana in a dire state. James Dzansi, IGC Country Economist in Ghana, argues that local governments must urgently adopt the digital Enhanced Revenue Management System to increase their capacities to deliver essential services to their citizens.  The local governments must stand up to the challenge....

    5 Nov 2020 | James Dzansi

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Protecting lives and livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic by shielding elderly populations

    Blanket lockdowns have proven to be unsustainable, particularly in developing countries. This brief examines how age-targeted policy measures could keep economies largely open while shielding the elderly and others with underlying health conditions. We find that in the presence of large informal sectors, limited fiscal space, and large numbers of households living...

    26 Jun 2020 | Titan Alon, James Dzansi, Minki Kim, David Lagakos, Henry Telli, Mitchell VanVuren

  • Blog post

    Ramping up early detection of COVID-19 with limited resources: The role of pool testing

    The ability to rapidly detect COVID-19 is central to saving lives and protecting livelihoods. However, testing equipment and associated kits are expensive and in short supply. As a result, many countries are not conducting anywhere near enough tests. Worse still, many individuals are spreading the virus unknowingly and undetected. The situation is particularly acute in...

    22 Jun 2020 | James Dzansi

  • Blog post

    Ghana lifts the lockdown: Has the government reneged on its commitment to contain COVID-19 at all costs?

    Along with many other countries, the government of Ghana announced a lockdown of the economic hubs of the country as part of its measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. In expressing the government’s commitment to containing the pandemic, the President declared, “we know how to bring the economy back to life. What we do not know is how to bring people back to...

    1 May 2020 | James Dzansi

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Improving local government tax collection capacity: Evidence from Ghana

    30 Sep 2019 | James Dzansi, Anders Jensen, David Lagakos, Henry Telli

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    The vicious nexus of non-payment of tariffs and blackouts: Evidence from Ghana

    30 Sep 2019 | James Dzansi, Steve Puller, Brittany Street, Belinda Yebuah-Dwamena

  • Blog post

    Why reliability matters in expanding access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa

    It is almost a cliché to state that electricity supply is a critical infrastructure. Without it, the quest for sustained and inclusive growth is sure to falter. Yet, across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), access to this critical piece of infrastructure is limited. Currently, two in five Sub-Saharan Africans lack access to electricity (IEA, 2018) While policymakers across the...

    28 Feb 2019 | James Dzansi, Brittany Street, Steve Puller, Belinda Yebuah-Dwamena

  • Publication - Working Paper

    The vicious circle of blackouts and revenue collection in developing economies: Evidence from Ghana

    7 Feb 2019 | James Dzansi, Steve Puller, Brittany Street, Belinda Yebuah-Dwamena

  • Project

    IGC Public Forum on Galamsey in Ghana

    Small-scale illegal mining operations (colloquially known as “galamsey”) are destroying farmlands, forests, and water bodies in Ghana. IGC analysis showis that it would cost approximately $250 million to reclaim lands and water bodies destroyed by galamsey based on its studies in the western region.  This event shared findings from IGC Ghana-sponsored work on...

    16 Jan 2019 | James Dzansi, Henry Telli

  • Publication - Project Report

    Survey of local government revenue mobilisation capacity in Ghana, 2017: Summary and policy implications

    7 Jan 2019 | James Dzansi, Anders Jensen, David Lagakos, Isaac Otoo, Henry Telli, Cynthia Zindam

  • Project

    Guidance on 'One-District, One Factory'

    Ghana has begun an ambitious policy of building one new factory in each of its 216 districts. This study provides guidance on which types of factories would be most viable in each district. The study concludes that several unexploited primary resources exist in almost each district, and highlights the challenges districts are likely to face when trying to process...

    26 Sep 2018 | David Lagakos, James Dzansi, Henry Telli

  • Publication - Project Report

    Manufacturing capabilities in Ghana’s districts: A guidebook for “One District One Factory”

    26 Sep 2018 | James Dzansi, David Lagakos, Isaac Otoo, Henry Telli, Cynthia Zindam

  • Project

    The vicious circle of power outages and bill payment: Evidence from Ghana

    One of the primary challenges facing developing countries that are attempting to build a robust electric grid is “tariff under-recovery” – many customers do not pay their electric bills. A consequence is that utilities are unable to cover operating expenses, maintain their existing infrastructure, and fund new investment to accommodate growth in electricity demand. In...

    6 Nov 2017 | James Dzansi, Steve Puller