Globalisation and Development

Globalisation and Development

The Globalisation and Development Research Programme studies the economic and political foundations of inclusive and sustainable development in a globalised world economy and strives to bridge theory and practice by engaging in fundamental empirical research, in policy analysis, and in designing new policy interventions.


  • How to achieve inclusive and sustainable development? Globalisation and economic development have transformed the lives of many for the better. Yet persistent or even rising economic, social, and political inequality, and climate change and environmental degradation call into question the capacity of globalisation and multilateral trade and investment rules, as well as the prevailing pattern of development to deliver progress for all and to respect our planetary boundaries. The Globalisation and Development Research Programme studies the economic, political and social foundations of inclusive and sustainable development.

    Our research is primarily empirical in nature and focuses on practical solutions to reconcile economic development and globalisation, human development, and sustainability through better policies, governance, and practices. We draw on the regional knowledge and broad methodological expertise of GIGA researchers from development economics and related disciplines, especially comparative politics, and international political economy. Our particular strengths are in original data collection, experimentation, and policy innovation. We strive to bridge the gap between theory and practice by engaging in fundamental research, in policy analysis, and in designing and testing new policy interventions. Much of our research is therefore carried out in partnership with national governments, international development agencies, and NGOs. We engage in high-level policy dialogues, have well-established working relation with policy-makers and practitioners, including in the Global South, and conduct rigorous impact evaluations.

    We focus on three research areas that address different aspects of inclusive and sustainable development in the Global South. The Trade, Investment and Sustainable Transformation Research Team studies the ambiguous impacts of global forces, such as digitalisation, global value chains, international investments, as well as the representation of the Global South in international trade and investment negotiations. The Institutions, Governance and Political Economy Research Team investigates the quality and performance of institutions and governance processes and their capacity to contribute to inclusive and sustainable development. The Education, Health and Employment Research Team analyses mechanisms to overcome poverty, exclusion and inequality. It focuses on labor markets, the inequalities in access to (quality) health care and education as well as the role of social protection.

    GIGA Focus Africa | 1/2023

    Ten Things to Watch in Africa in 2023

    Russia’s war against Ukraine has accelerated international competition for influence in Africa. Structural weaknesses and post-pandemic instabilities continue to threaten democratic governance, peace, and development. We present a selective list and analysis of “ten things to watch” in Africa in 2023.

    GIGA Focus Africa | 1/2023

    Ten Things to Watch in Africa in 2023

    Russia’s war against Ukraine has accelerated international competition for influence in Africa. Structural weaknesses and post-pandemic instabilities continue to threaten democratic governance, peace, and development. We present a selective list and analysis of “ten things to watch” in Africa in 2023.

    Blog Article | 12/2022

    How not to do Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion in Academia: Ten Commandments

    GIGA President Prof. Amrita Narlikar and Dr. Cecilia Sottilotta outline ten pitfalls to avoid when working on Equal opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in social science and beyond.

    Cecilia Emma Sottilotta

    Formerly Visiting Fellow

    Research Project | 01/07/2022 - 30/06/2025

    Transfer for Transformation – Knowledge Exchange with Global Reach (T4T)

    Transfer for Transformation (T4T) is an application lab. Its topical focus are political and economic transformations (also in the digital arena) in the Global South. T4T will innovate in the practice of knowledge transfer through consequent target-group-integration and novel access strategies. It will also advance the scholarship on the subject by analysing the effectiveness and impact of different types of knowledge transfer.
    Leibniz Association, 2022-2025

    Research Project | 01/01/2022 - 31/12/2022

    Land-Based Investments in Global Supply Chains and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups

    The second phase of the research project “Large-Scale Land Acquisitions, Rural Change, and Social Conflict” focuses on the socio-economic impact of large-scale land acquisitions (LSLA) on local populations, particularly in terms of communal land rights and indigenous groups. Furthermore, it investigates the relationship between LSLA and global (agricultural) supply chains. The project aims to synthesise existing research and generate new evidence at the intersection of rural development and sustainable production and consumption.
    BMZ, 2022

    Research Project | 01/10/2021 - 01/10/2022

    COVID-19 in Latin America: The Role of Social Protections for Households with Children

    This project analyzes the socio-economic fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the intervening role of social protections, on families with children in eight Latin American countries. The region, with high levels of inequality, labor informality, and urbanization, has been particularly hard hit by both pandemic deaths and economic effects. The social protection responses, however, have varied dramatically, from a massive emergency assistance plan in Brazil to virtually no additional cash transfer aid in Mexico.
    DFG, 2021-2022

    Dr. Juliana Martínez Franzoni

    University of Costa Rica

    Research Project | 01/10/2021 - 15/04/2022

    Investigating Supply & Demand Side Factors of a Massive Covid-19 Vaccination Drive: Experimental Evidence from Indonesia

    Indonesia is fighting one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia. On January 13, 2021, the country started one of the world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccination drives. The plan is to inoculate 181.5 million people – two third of the population – in 15 months using primarily the CoronaVac from China’s Sinovac Biotech. The vaccination campaign is ambitious and its success hinges on a number of supply and demand side factors which are subject to investigation in this project.
    DFG, 2021-2022

    Research Project | 01/04/2021 - 31/03/2025

    INFECTIONS in an Urbanizing World - Humans, Animals, Environments

    The Leibniz Research Alliance INFECTIONS promotes interdisciplinary research across several sections of the Leibniz Association. It focuses on the spread of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) microbes in an urbanizing society. This is a topical issue since a number of endemic infectious diseases are the leading cause of disease and mortality worldwide. In addition, humanity is increasingly challenged by emerging infectious agents that are often zoonotic in nature, such as the coronavirus outbreak.
    Leibniz Association, 2021-2025

    Research Project | 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2023

    Digital Diplomacy and Statecraft

    “Digital Diplomacy and Statecraft” is funded by the Federal Foreign Office. It focuses on how digitalisation offers new opportunities, challenges, and instruments for foreign policy. It will identify the options and (security) threats of digitalisation to develop timely responses of (digital) diplomacy.
    FFO, 2021-2022

    Research Project | 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2023

    Religion for Peace: Identifying Conditions and Mechanisms of Interfaith Peace

    In recent years, religion has become an increasingly contentious phenomenon, with religious violence and discrimination on the rise worldwide. However, religion is also connected to peace: interfaith peace is, in fact, the norm rather than the exception. We contribute to the rigorous empirical study of the link between religion and peace, especially regarding positive peace. Using several cutting-edge methodologies, we expect substantial results that are also very useful for policy.
    DFG, 2020-2023

    Research Project | 01/09/2020 - 31/08/2026

    Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA)

    MIASA, based at the University of Legon, Ghana, is one of five Maria Sibylla Merian Centres for Advanced Studies, funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research. Its overall aim is to work towards a reduction of global asymmetries in knowledge production and bridging the cultural divide between anglophone and francophone Africa. MIASA's thematical focus is on sustainable governance. The GIGA contributes to the Interdisciplinary Fellow Group on ‘Sustainable Rural Transformation’ and its outreach activities.
    BMBF, 2020-2026

    Team


    Research Teams

    We focus on three research areas that address different aspects of inclusive and sustainable development in the Global South. The Trade, Investment and Sustainable Transformation Research Team studies the ambiguous impacts of global forces, such as digitalisation, global value chains, international investments, as well as the representation of the Global South in international trade and investment negotiations. The Institutions, Governance and Political Economy Research Team investigates the quality and performance of institutions and governance processes and their capacity to contribute to inclusive and sustainable development. The Education, Health and Employment Research Team analyses mechanisms to overcome poverty, exclusion and inequality. It focuses on labor markets, the inequalities in access to (quality) health care and education as well as the role of social protection.


    Research Team 1: Trade, Investment and Sustainable Transformation

    This research team is concerned with globalisation – understood as a process of increased economic integration through international trade, investment, and human mobility, – as well as its socio-economic and environmental repercussions. Our research looks at key global questions, such as threats posed to the multilateral world trade order by geo-economic competition and weaponised interdependence. We are also interested in the way globalisation interacts with and shapes other megatrends. This includes climate change where our focus lies on how low and middle-income countries can “decarbonise” economic development. Another example is the role of digitalisation and the service sector for structural change in developing countries.

    Our research projects often examine and compare the local impacts of these trends, globalisation and related polices – building on original data from the GIGA regions. For example, we are part of the Land Matrix Initiative, which collects data on foreign large-scale land investment in various countries and the related research focuses on the impacts of these “land grabs” on rural livelihoods. In our analyses of policies, for example of climate policies, sustainability and labour standards, and investment promotion policies, we assess how economic, social and environmental ends can be reconciled.


    Research Team 2: Institutions, Governance and Political Economy

    Effective governance is a prerequisite for inclusive and sustainable development. The Institutions, Governance and Political Economy team focuses on the quality and performance of institutions and governance processes in developing countries. We study governance failures, such as corruption and elite capture, problems of collective action and public goods provision, and social conflict. In these contexts, we examine how governance outcomes can be improved through institutional design or policy interventions. For example, some of our research focuses on decentralisation and local governance performance. We have developed tools to monitor institutional capacity and local government performance at large scale and we conduct field experiments to test ways of improving local government performance and strengthening formal and informal accountability towards citizens. We also examine informal social norms shape the behaviour of elites and citizens and the functioning of formal institutions. For example, through field-based behavioural research, we investigate how religious ideas influence social behaviour and what mechanisms can help to reduce discrimination of outgroups due to their religious beliefs, ethnic origin or gender.


    Research Team 3: Education, Health, and Employment

    This research team explores education, health, and labor market topics. Our work thus looks at the causes and consequences of poverty and the dramatic wealth, income and social inequality that characterises many countries of the Global South. We also analyse discrimination related to race, ethnicity, gender, and religion. Our research covers a wide range of crucial social issues related to the design, scope, and implementation challenges of social protection programs, the creation of decent work and sustainable and gainful employment at fair wages, the access to affordable and essential health care services, the global and regional fertility transition, and the achievement of quality schooling and learning.

    The team is frequently involved in rigorous impact evaluations of specific policies and development interventions, for example in schools and for firms and farms in poor contexts. In these evaluations, which typically require large-scale data collections, we can build on long-standing collaborations with local partners and relevant policy communities. In comparative analyses, we collect the experiences from different contexts to produce policy-relevant insights that we share, inter alia, through well-established networks and collaborations with international organisations.

    President

    Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar is President of the GIGA. Her research focuses on international negotiations, economic statecraft, and multilateralism. She has a special interest in India, Asia, and the BRICS.

    Office of the President

    Regional Institutes

    Africa|Asia|Latin America|Middle East

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