nep-ppm New Economics Papers
on Project, Program and Portfolio Management
Issue of 2012‒07‒08
eight papers chosen by
Arvi Kuura
Parnu College - Tartu University

  1. Public projects benefiting some and harming others: three experimental studies By Werner Güth; Anastasios Koukoumelis; M. Vittoria Levati; Matteo Ploner
  2. Value for money? New microeconometric evidence on public R&D grants in Flanders By Czarnitzki, Dirk; Lopes-Bento, Cindy
  3. Bureaucratic delay, local-level monitoring, and delivery of small infrastructure projects: Evidence from a eld experiment in Bolivia By Carlos Gustavo Machicado; Monica Yanez
  4. The Politics of Aid Effectiveness: Why Better Tools can Make for Worse Outcomes By Olofsgård, Anders
  5. Knowledge to Action (K2A) By Luz Ángela García; Elba Luna; Lorena Rodríguez; Micha Van Waesberghe; Darinka Vásquez
  6. Knowledge Capture Interview By Luz Ángela García; Elba Luna; Lorena Rodríguez; Micha Van Waesbergue; Darinka Vásquez Jordán
  7. Economic Impacts of ACIAR Funded Forestry Research on Indonesian Pulpwood Plantations By Lindner, Robert K.
  8. Improving environmental decisions: a transaction-costs story By Pannell, David J.; Roberts, Anna M.; Park, Geoff; Alexander, Jennifer

  1. By: Werner Güth (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena); Anastasios Koukoumelis (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena); M. Vittoria Levati (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena, and Department of Economics, University of Verona); Matteo Ploner (DECO-CEEL, University of Trento)
    Abstract: Based on an axiomatically derived provision rule allowing community members to endogenously determine which, if any, public project should be provided, we perform experiments where (i) not all parties benefit from provision, and (ii) the projects' "costs" can be negative. In the tradition of legal mechanism design, the proposed provision rule is widely applicable. Additionally, it relies on intuitive fairness and profitability requirements. Our results indicate that the provision rule is conducive to efficiency, despite its multiplicity of equilibria and un- derbidding incentives. The only condition is that the cost of the most efficient project is positive.
    Keywords: Public project, Bidding behavior, Procedural fairness
    JEL: C72 C92 D63 H44
    Date: 2012–07–02
  2. By: Czarnitzki, Dirk; Lopes-Bento, Cindy
    Abstract: A significant amount of money is spent on programs to stimulate innovative activities. In this paper, we review the effects of a specific government-sponsored commercial R&D program from various angles. We start by evaluating whether we find positive effects of subsidies on R&D investment and R&D employment. Then, we analyze how the observed effects of subsidies on R&D intensity and employment vary over time, vary if the firm receives also support from other sources, vary depending on how many supported projects a single firm has at the same time or vary if a firm gets support consecutively. Finally, we estimate the macroeconomic impact of these grants in terms of R&D employment. We conclude that (i) the policies are not subject to full crowding out, (ii) the treatments effects are stable over time, (iii) receiving subsidies from other sources in addition to the program under evaluation does not decrease the estimated treatment effect, and (iv) receiving grants repeatedly does not decrease the magnitude of the treatment effects either. Using a back-of-the envelope calculation, we estimate that, on average, five R&D jobs are created (or maintained) per supported project in the Flemish economy. --
    Date: 2012
  3. By: Carlos Gustavo Machicado (Institute for Advanced Development Studies); Monica Yanez (Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, The World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper examines bureaucratic delay within the allocation of small infrastructure projects by sub-municipal governments in Bolivia, and it presents a randomized eld experiment designed to improve public service delivery by promoting voice, transparency, and accountability among grass- roots organizations. The experiment consists of randomly providing sub-municipal governments with a mailing tracking system, which provides public ocials and grassroots organizations real- time information about the processing of small infrastructure projects requests by sub-municipal governments. The objective of this intervention is twofold. First, is to facilitate the involvement of grassroots organizations in the process of reviewing, tracking, and monitoring small infrastructure project allocations. Second, is to explicitly alter the probability of detecting inecient adminis- trative practices within district councils and, therefore, to implicitly increase the expected cost of engaging in such practices among public ocials. The ndings of this paper suggest that moni- toring tools that promote access to information by citizens might play a critical role in improving public service delivery outcomes. Yet, in settings where mechanisms of local accountability are subject to be captured by local elites or are weak, monitoring tools might have limited capacity to improve outcomes. In such settings, major transparency related reforms might be needed to improve public service delivery outcomes.
    Keywords: Bolivia, transparency, accountability, local-level monitoring, bureaucratic delay
    JEL: D73 C93 H76
    Date: 2012–06
  4. By: Olofsgård, Anders (Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics)
    Abstract: The recent focus on impact evaluation within development economics has lead to increased pressure on aid agencies to provide "hard evidence", i.e. results from randomized controlled trials (RCTs), to motivate how they spend their money. In this paper I argue that even though RCTs can help us better understand if some interventions work or not, it can also reinforce an existing bias towards focusing on what generates quick, immediately verifiable and media-packaged results, at the expense of more long term and complex processes of learning and institutional development. This bias comes from a combination of public ignorance, simplistic media coverage and the temptation of politicians to play to the simplistic to gain political points and mitigate the risks of bad publicity. I formalize this idea in a simple principal-agent model with a government and an aid agency. The agency has two instruments to improve immediately verifiable outcomes; choose to spend more of the resources on operations rather than learning or select better projects/programs. I first show that if the government cares about long term development, then incentives will be moderated not to push the agency to neglect learning. If the government is impatient, though, then the optimal contract leads to stronger incentives, positively affecting the quality of projects/programs but also negatively affecting the allocation of resources across operations and learning. Finally, I show that in the presence of an impatient government, then the introduction of a better instrument for impact evaluation, such as RCTs, may actually decrease aid effectiveness by motivating the government to chose even stronger incentives.
    Keywords: Foreign aid; principal agent; political economy
    JEL: D72 D86 O19
    Date: 2012–06–27
  5. By: Luz Ángela García; Elba Luna; Lorena Rodríguez; Micha Van Waesberghe; Darinka Vásquez
    Abstract: This document describes the 'Knowledge to Action' methodology, which produces and organizes actionable 'Key Learnings' for re-use by their target audience. Key Learnings captured from individual projects can help teams solve current operational challenges and improve performance indicators. The cumulative capture of Key Learnings from multiple projects in a specific country, (sub-)sector, or business process allow for the compilation and validation of a critical mass of relevant knowledge, which can be disseminated effectively through an integrated online knowledge base and/or be leveraged to develop or update training or other capacity building efforts.
    Keywords: Education, LESSONS LEARNED
    Date: 2012–06
  6. By: Luz Ángela García; Elba Luna; Lorena Rodríguez; Micha Van Waesbergue; Darinka Vásquez Jordán
    Abstract: This document provides information about the Knowledge Capture Interview, one of the methods used within the Bank's cycle to learn from experience. Specifically, it is a `learning after doing' technique that helps teams identify and share what worked and what hasn't worked, so that others within their family of projects (country, sector, or subsector portfolio) can take advantage of what has been learned.
    Keywords: Education, lessons learned
    Date: 2012–06
  7. By: Lindner, Robert K.
    Abstract: Since 1987, ACIAR has invested in collaborative research projects between Australian and Indonesian scientists, with the aim of improving plantation forestry in both countries. This presentation is derived from report on a cost–benefit study to assess economic impacts from this investment. For more detail, see Lindner (2011). Based on conservative assumptions about uptake of outputs of the “Australian trees projects” by Indonesian pulpwood plantations, the present value of benefits could eventually be as high as A$11,148 million from an investment by ACIAR and partners of less than A$20 million.
    Keywords: Economic Impact, Plantation Forestry, Research, Indonesian, International Development, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,
    Date: 2012
  8. By: Pannell, David J.; Roberts, Anna M.; Park, Geoff; Alexander, Jennifer
    Abstract: A multidisciplinary team of researchers made efforts to influence the design and implementation of environmental policy in Australia. A focus of these efforts was the development of the Investment Framework for Environmental Resources (INFFER). In addition, the team undertook a diversity of communication activities, training, user support, and participation in committees and enquiries. Transaction costs were relevant to these efforts in a variety of ways. Environmental managers who adopted some elements of INFFER incurred higher transaction costs than they did using traditional, simpler methods for planning and prioritising. The benefits that could be generated by bearing specific transaction costs were carefully considered, and a balance was struck between the system having simplicity (and low transaction costs) and delivering valuable environmental outcomes in the long term. Transaction costs were factored into the planning and prioritisation processed developed for INFFER. For example, public and private transaction costs are accounted for in the calculation of the Benefit: Cost Ratio for each project, and in the analysis of which type of policy mechanisms would be most suitable. The researchers’ experiences highlight the importance of transaction costs and the diverse roles that they play in the processes of developing, implementing and influencing environmental policy programs.
    Keywords: transaction costs, policy mechanism choice, benefit: costs analysis, prioritisation, planning, Environmental Economics and Policy, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy, Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession, Q50, Q57, Q58, D23,
    Date: 2012–06–18

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