nep-ppm New Economics Papers
on Project, Program and Portfolio Management
Issue of 2016‒03‒10
seven papers chosen by
Arvi Kuura
Tartu Ülikool

  1. Disclosure and Choice By Elchanan Ben-Porath; Eddie Dekel; Barton L. Lipman
  2. The usage of EU resources in local social innovation By Sebastiano Sabato; Gert Verschraegen
  3. Promoting Student Research with Science Fairs: Case Studies of Exemplary Programs By Peter Rillero
  4. Supporting export competitiveness through port and rail network reforms : a case study of South Africa By Pieterse,Duncan; Farole,Thomas; Odendaal,Martin; Steenkamp,Andre
  5. Challenges in implementing a small-scale farmers’ capacity-building program: The case of the food production, processing, and marketing project in the Democratic Republic of Congo: By Ragasa, Catherine; Nkonya, Ephraim M.; Ulimwengu, John M.; Randriamamonjy, Josée
  6. Modeling poset convex subsets By QUEYRANNE, M.; WOLSEY, L.A.
  7. Examining Processes in Research and Development at the Department of Science and Technology By Albert, Jose Ramon G.; Yasay, Donald B.; Gaspar, Raymond E.

  1. By: Elchanan Ben-Porath; Eddie Dekel; Barton L. Lipman
    Abstract: An agent chooses among projects with random outcomes. His payoff is increasing in the outcome and in an observer's expectation of the outcome. With some probability, the agent can disclose the true outcome to the observer. We show that choice is inefficient: the agent favors riskier projects even with lower expected returns. If information can be disclosed by a challenger who prefers lower beliefs of the observer, the chosen project is excessively risky when the agent has better access to information, excessively risk{averse when the challenger has better access, and efficient otherwise. We also characterize the agent's worst-case equilibrium payoff.
  2. By: Sebastiano Sabato; Gert Verschraegen
    Abstract: Over the last few decades, the European Union (EU) has made available a number of resources for promoting and supporting social innovation in the field of poverty and social exclusion (cf. Sabato et al. 2015). These resources include, most obviously, funding but also networking opportunities, cognitive resources, visibility and reputational resources. This paper investigates a) how resources provided by the European Union (EU) have been used in socially innovative initiatives implemented at the local level, b) what has been their added value and c) which difficulties local actors have encountered when accessing and using these resources. Our study is based on the analysis of sixteen socially innovative initiatives implemented in five Member States (Austria, Belgium, Italy, Sweden and the UK) and concerning three policy areas: Roma inclusion (notably, education-related initiatives), homelessness and housing exclusion (Housing First), and labour market activation. A number of conclusions can be drawn from our analysis. First, the EU level appears as a key layer of multi-scalar social innovation systems, often able to directly sustain local projects, bypassing the national level. Indeed, EU resources – especially financial and cognitive resources – have been used in most of our case studies and have often been deemed essential for the implementation of those projects. Second, in a number of cases EU resources have been strategically used by local actors in order to implement initiatives at odds with established domestic policy legacies, i.e. for experimenting with either new policy approaches or new instruments/methods within established approaches. We call this the leverage effect of EU resources. Third, the various welfare regimes are characterised by different social innovation patterns, especially in relation to institutionalization and up-scaling dynamics: welfare regime-related peculiarities can be identified, also when it comes to using EU resources for such purposes. While countries belonging to Universalistic and (in part) Corporatist welfare regimes appear particularly able in using EU resources to experiment with innovative initiatives, then mainstreaming successful projects into public policies once the EU co-funding period expires, this capacity appears much more limited in countries belonging to Familistic and Liberal welfare regimes. Fourth, EU resources have, remarkably enough, not been used for up-scaling socially innovative initiatives in any of our cases, even though the EU emphasizes that resources are also intended to be used for this. Finally, a number of shortcomings which make access to EU resources and their management difficult have been identified, including complex and time-consuming procedures related to EU funds and the inadequacy of the support provided by public bodies. These shortcomings often limit small organisations’ ability to exploit EU resources, thus contributing to the creation of a ‘frozen’ situation where big and well-established organisations – which have developed expertise and experience in dealing with EU resources – enjoy a sort of incumbents’ advantage.
    Keywords: social innovation; poverty and social exclusion; EU structural funds; leverage effect; welfare regimes
    JEL: I3
  3. By: Peter Rillero (Arizona State University)
    Abstract: There is increased discussion and recognition of the importance of project-based learning in education (Chin & Chia, 2004; Krajcik, Czerniak, & Berger, 1998; Lam, Cheng, & Ma, 2009). Full-inquiry science research projects develop science content and develop and assess all of the standards-based science process skills and inquiry skills. In the dawn of project-based learning moving beyond talk and into implementation, full-inquiry science research should be the gold standard of independent project work.We propose that policy people, leaders, and teachers have the following three main goals for science fairs: (a) Winning Goal, (b) Quantity Goal, and (c) Quality Goal. These goals may not be explicitly stated but they do shape behavior. The winning goal is common but focusing efforts on elite students doing elite projects may limit the amount of students participating. For this research we selected programs that were exemplary in maximizing participation but yet were interested in quality research. Case study analyses of science research programs in Costa Rica, Ireland, and Marlborough, Massachusetts were conducted. Interviews of leaders, supporters, and students were conducted. These interviews and supporting documents were analyzed. Each of these case studies is described and conclusions from comparing programs are presented. The research can inform existing science research programs and places seeking to establish science research programs.
    Keywords: Inquiry, student research, science education
    JEL: I21 I29
  4. By: Pieterse,Duncan; Farole,Thomas; Odendaal,Martin; Steenkamp,Andre
    Abstract: Transport and logistics infrastructure is a critical determinant of the competitiveness of a country's producers and exporters. Well-functioning transport and logistics infrastructure relies not just on hardware, but critically on the operating environment that emerges from the interaction between private sector operators; national policies and regulatory regimes; and, in many countries, state-owned owners and operators of core infrastructure. This paper looks at the case of South Africa, where constraints in access, pricing, reliability, and network interfaces, particularly in the port and rail network, are eroding the competitiveness of South African exporters. The paper draws on interviews with a wide range of exporters along with secondary research to examine South Africa's port and rail network, and explores the underlying factors contributing to these constraints, including chronic underinvestment, an inadequate regulatory environment, insufficient private sector participation, and weak regional integration. The paper concludes with a review of the reforms needed to deliver a more broadly accessible and competitive rail and port sector based on international case examples. It highlights the need for institutional reforms to promote competitive pricing; private sector participation to increase investment and improve service delivery; information and coordination to address market failures and improve access; and cooperation to improve intermodal, interregional, and institutional interfaces.
    Keywords: Transport and Trade Logistics,Common Carriers Industry,Railways Transport,Airports and Air Services,Transport Economics Policy&Planning
    Date: 2016–01–11
  5. By: Ragasa, Catherine; Nkonya, Ephraim M.; Ulimwengu, John M.; Randriamamonjy, Josée
    Abstract: In 2011, in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government launched the Food Production, Processing, and Marketing project—which aimed to raise incomes and improve food security in the target areas by improving agricultural productivity, market efficiency, and the capacity of producers to respond to market signals. In August–October 2013 and February–March 2014, halfway through the project’s implementation, a midline survey was conducted to assess progress with respect to intermediate outcomes. The present paper highlights the results of that assessment survey. We pay close attention to accurate attribution of observed changes to the project and employ a double-difference method that compares the changes in indicators before the project and at the time of the survey (project midline) between the beneficiaries and comparable control groups. Overall, the survey results suggest weak impact on most of the outcome indicators, and they highlight challenges in implementing small-scale farmers’ capacity building within the context of weak institutions and a fragile political context.
    Keywords: capacity building, smallholders, productivity, food security, markets, food processing, evaluation, agricultural development, value chains, double-difference analysis,
    Date: 2016
  6. By: QUEYRANNE, M. (Université catholique de Louvain, CORE, Belgium); WOLSEY, L.A. (Université catholique de Louvain, CORE, Belgium)
    Abstract: A subset S of a poset (partially ordered set) is convex if and only if S contains every poset element which is between any two elements in S. Poset convex subsets arise in applications that involve precedence constraints, such as in project scheduling, production planning, and assembly line balancing. We give a strongly polynomial time algorithm which, given a poset and element weights (of arbitrary sign), finds a convex subset with maximum total weight. This algorithm relies on a reduction to a maximum weight filter (or closure) problem in a poset about twice the size of the given poset; the latter problem is wellsolved as a minimum s-t cut problem. We also use this reduction to construct a compact, ideal extended formulation for the convex hull Cp of the characteristic vectors of all convex subsets in poset P. We define a class of alternating inequalities that are valid for Cp and admit a linear time separation algorithm based on Dynamic Programming (DP). Furthermore, whenever the point to separate is actually in Cp the associated DP value functions induce a feasible solution to the extended formulation. This implies that the alternating inequalities and nonnegative inequalities suffice to describe Cp. We conclude by showing that this polyhedral description is minimal, and thus also admits a linear time separation algorithm.
    Keywords: partial order, convex subsets, extended formulation, convex hull, separation algorithms, dynamic programming
    Date: 2015–11–25
  7. By: Albert, Jose Ramon G.; Yasay, Donald B.; Gaspar, Raymond E.
    Abstract: Research and development (R&D) activities have long been recognized as one of the critical components to improve a country's productivity and competitiveness as well as people's well-being. Notable advancements in agriculture (to develop new variety of crops), health (to improve nutrition and combat various diseases), industry (to develop new products and services), as well as in climate change adaptation and mitigation are products of R&D. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), chiefly through sectoral councils and R&D performers, has been successfully undertaking or supporting a considerable share of R&D activities in the country while noting limited resources available. However, there is a need to improve the thrust for R&D, which may require the conduct of an R&D summit to finalize the scope of the government's R&D medium- and long-term agenda. The DOST also needs to reexamine the distribution of grant-in-aid funds to R&D institutes and identify breakdowns of R&D funding for basic research, applied research, and development. The DOST may need to pilot test scientific methods, such as Analytic Hierarchy Processes, for selection of R&D proposals for funding by its sectoral councils.
    Keywords: Philippines, impact evaluation, research and development (R&D), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), R&D institutes, grant-in-aid (GIA) fund, R&D activities
    Date: 2016

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