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UNU-WIDER Development Conference: call for papers

March 20, 2013

Rapid and sustained poverty reduction requires ‘inclusive growth’ that allows people to contribute to and benefit from the development process. Africa’s economic performance has improved considerably since the 1980s and early 1990s. Nevertheless, many questions remain unanswered. For instance, has recent progress in Africa been under- or over-stated? Are certain social groups being excluded from the growth and development process? Which dimensions of poverty are leading or lagging? Has economic growth been transformative, leading to more and better jobs? What policies are required to increase the likelihood of sustaining Africa’s development process in the long-run?

Answering these and other pertinent questions is challenging worldwide. Africa faces particular difficulties in comparison with other developing regions due to relatively high poverty rates, relatively weak information bases, and frequent high volatility in the underlying determinants of welfare and economic growth. The UNU-WIDER development conference in September 2013 therefore focuses on the performance, prospects, and policies for promoting more inclusive growth throughout Africa, including North Africa. The conference aims to encourage dialogue between and among researchers and policy makers from the academic, government and international development communities.

Conference themes

UNU-WIDER invites interested participants to submit original research related to the two conference themes below. We are open to contributions that use rigorous research methods from economics, and other social sciences, and welcome papers that hold important implications for policy.

Measuring growth, poverty, and inequality

The study of well-being, in terms of concepts, theoretical principles and measurements, has been at the core of research in the field of development economics over the last three decades. More recently, special attention has been paid to the dynamic and multi-dimensional nature of poverty and inequality. This theme focuses on innovative methods, theories and empirical approaches to measuring poverty, inequality and social and economic mobility from national, regional, or continent-wide perspectives. An important area is the use of macro, sectoral, price, qualitative, and other data as a cross-check on traditional poverty survey data. Papers that assess the reliability of basic growth, poverty or inequality data are also welcome, as are papers on other developing regions that offer lessons and insights relevant to the African context.

Causes and consequences of inclusive growth

Inclusive growth requires broad participation in the development process. While Africa recently has enjoyed fairly rapid economic growth, it is debatable whether this has led to the kind of transformation needed to create decent jobs and improve well-being over the long term. This theme focuses on the underlying drivers of growth in Africa and their implications for social and economic inclusion. At the same time, the theme addresses whether and how inclusive growth can contribute to broader economic, social, and political transformation. Important issues include, for example, gender, youth, the middle class, and the private sector in Africa’s development process over the last decade. Papers that consider the (in)effectiveness of specific policies in promoting social inclusion are especially welcome.

Submission procedure and deadlines

Interested participants, who wish to present a paper, should complete the online application form, including an updated CV, and an extended abstract of no more than 500 words, related to one of the above themes. The abstract should include the research question that will be addressed, the main methods and data that will be utilized, the anticipated findings, and the larger implications of the research.

The deadline for submitting abstracts is 1 April 2013. All submissions will be reviewed and authors will be informed of the outcome by 1 May 2013. In the case of accepted abstracts, full papers will be required by 15 August 2013. Accepted papers will be considered for either panel or poster presentations.

Papers accepted through this call for papers will be considered for publication in the UNU-WIDER Working Paper series and possible further academic publication emanating from this conference. Sponsored participant accepted through this call for papers are expected to transfer copyright of their paper to UNU-WIDER, if selected for publication after review.

The conference is intended for researchers and policy makers from the academic, government, and development communities. Female and developing country participants are encouraged to apply. The conference will be held in English. Simultaneous translation will not be available.

Financial support

For participants accepted to present their paper, UNU-WIDER will cover accommodation and meals during the conference period of one person per presented paper. Subject to UN procedures, travel expenses to and from Helsinki can also be covered for some participants, with preference given to those from developing countries. There is no conference fee.