Research Programme 3

Socio-economic Development in the Context of Globalisation

Globalisation and economic growth lead to far-reaching changes in many parts of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Foreign direct investment, trade, migration and new globally available technologies accelerate economic structural change. At the same time, great social upheaval can be observed: absolute poverty is declining, whereas social inequalities and tensions are rising. Additionally, many places have seen strong demographic changes and higher levels of education.

Research Programme 3 (RP 3) scientists analyse these socio-economic transformations from the diverse perspectives of development economics. In doing so, they focus on three core themes.

First, RP 3 researchers investigate the behaviour of individuals, households, businesses and particular social groups in the context of global change. As such, labour markets and the analysis of companies and entrepreneurs are the primary focus.

Second, the aforementioned research is supplemented by research on socio-economic changes at the macro level – largely through country comparisons – whereby emphasis is on the interdependence of long-term economic growth and structural change.

Third, RP 3 researchers look at the issue of compatibility of environmental and social sustainability. Economic growth is a prerequisite for the reduction of poverty in developing countries, but it also leads to the overuse of natural resources and the environment. Therefore, RP 3 scholars examine both potentially conflicting goals and conceivable synergies between ecologically and socially sustainable development.

RP 3 is also a partner in the innovative Land Matrix project. Together with an international network of research institutions and NGOs, the GIGA collects data on controversial foreign investment in various countries. Using interactive maps, the matrix shows where the largest target countries are, where the investors come from, and how the land is ultimately used.