nep-ppm New Economics Papers
on Project, Program and Portfolio Management
Issue of 2017‒02‒26
six papers chosen by
Arvi Kuura
Tartu Ülikool

  1. The Post-Truth Era in Government Evaluation of Major Projects and Policies By Leo Dobes
  2. Après nous le déluge? Direct democracy and intergenerational conflicts in aging societies By Maennig, Wolfgang; Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M.; Steenbeck, Malte
  3. Closing the Cycle: How South Australia and Asia Can Benefit from Re-inventing Used Nuclear Fuel Management By Ben P. Heard, Barry W. Brook
  4. We Don’t Need No Education: Reconstruction and Conflict across Afghanistan By Travers Barclay Child
  5. Econometric Evaluation of a Placement Coaching Program for Recipients of Disability Insurance Benefits in Switzerland By Hagen, Tobias
  6. Soviet Technological Projects and Technological Aid in Africa and Cuba, 1960s-1980s By Elena Kochetkova; David Damtar; Lilia Boliachevets; Polina Slyusarchuk; Julia Lajus

  1. By: Leo Dobes
    Abstract: Australian experience reveals an increasingly post-truth approach to economic evaluation, with governments ignoring or avoiding professional expertise when promoting their favoured projects and policies. Lack of formal guidelines for economic evaluation, such as those promulgated by Congress and successive American presidents, are a partial explanation. A concomitant hollowing-out of public service expertise in economic analysis has also occurred. More importantly, public sector agencies have even lost much of their capability to understand and assess evaluations carried out on their behalf by commercial consultants. An effective antidote to this deskilling would be the production and publication of analyses of major government policy and project proposals, as well as the development of a standardised analytical framework, reinforced with training for public servants.
    Keywords: post-truth, cost-benefit analysis, evaluation, iconic, nation-building
    JEL: D61 H43
    Date: 2017–02
  2. By: Maennig, Wolfgang; Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M.; Steenbeck, Malte
    Abstract: To assess the likely effects of population ageing on the outcomes of direct democracy, we analyze the effect of age on voting decisions in public referenda. To this end, we provide the first quantitative review of the literature and a case study of the Stuttgart 21 referendum on one of the largest infrastructure projects in Germany. The evidence suggests that intergenerational conflicts arising from population ageing will likely be limited to areas in which the net present value differs particularly strongly across generations, such as education and health spending, green energy, and major transport projects. In such instances, however, the effect can be quantitatively relevant, raising the question of whether, as population ageing progresses, decisions should be based on social cost-benefit anal-yses, instead of referenda.
    JEL: D61 D62 H41
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Ben P. Heard, Barry W. Brook
    Abstract: A large and growing market exists for the management of used nuclear fuel. Urgent need for service lies in Asia, also the region of the fastest growth in fossil fuel consumption. A logical potential provider of this service is acknowledged to be Australia. We describe and assess a service combining approved multinational storage with an advanced fuel reconditioning facility and commercialisation of advanced nuclear reactor technologies. We estimate that this project has the potential to deliver a net present value of (2015) AU$30.9 billion. This economic finding compares favourably with recent assessment based on deep geological repository. Providing service for used nuclear fuel and commercialisation of next generation nuclear technology would catalyse the expansion of nuclear technology for energy requirements across Asia and beyond, aiding efforts to combat climate change. Pathways based on leveraging advanced nuclear technologies are therefore worthy of consideration in the development of policy in this area.
    Keywords: used nuclear fuel, integral fast reactor, PRISM, pyroprocessing, technology, climate change
    Date: 2017–02–16
  4. By: Travers Barclay Child (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam & Tinbergen Institute)
    Abstract: Field interviews conducted by the author in Afghanistan suggest current theories linking conflict to development do not adequately account for ideological drivers of resistance. We present a model demonstrating how reconstruction/development led by a foreign occupier can exacerbate violence through popular discontent, if projects are ideologically controversial. We test the model using detailed data on military-led reconstruction and public opinion from NATO, and a US-Government violence log covering Afghanistan from 2005 until 2009. We find projects in the health sector successfully alleviate violence, whereas those in the education sector actually provoke conflict. The destabilizing effects of education projects are strongest in conservative areas, where public opinion polls suggest education projects breed antipathy towards international forces. Further underscoring the role of local perceptions, project-driven violence appears to be homegrown, rather than sourced externally. Our findings do not support competing theories; are not driven by reverse causation; and are robust when considering many sources of endogeneity.
    Keywords: Reconstruction, Development, Insurgency, Conflict JEL Classification: O21, H56, N4
    Date: 2017–02
  5. By: Hagen, Tobias
    Abstract: This paper evaluates a placement coaching program carried out in Zurich during 2009–2013 that focused on the reemployment of persons drawing disability insurance (DI) benefits. A private company was commissioned with carrying out the program. Kernel-based matching and radius matching with bias adjustment (Lechner et al. 2011; Huber et al. 2015) estimators combined with difference-in-differences are applied to administrative panel data. The estimates indicate a successful project in terms of a reduction in DI benefits and an increase in income even in the medium-run. A simple cost-benefit analysis suggests that the project was a profitable investment for the government. Sensitivity analyses indicate that the results are robust to confounders. An interesting policy implication is that it seems possible to enhance the employment prospects of disabled persons with a relatively inexpensive placement coaching measure which does not include any explicit investments in human capital.
    JEL: I38 J08 J14
    Date: 2016
  6. By: Elena Kochetkova (National Research University Higher School of Economics); David Damtar (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Lilia Boliachevets (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Polina Slyusarchuk (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Julia Lajus (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper examines Soviet development projects in African countries and Cuba during the Cold War. We analyze types of projects led by Soviet specialists and engage into the question of how Soviets, both leadership and engineers, viewed their roles and impacts as well as challenges on African territory and Cuba. In so doing, this paper analyzes differences and similarities in Soviet penetration to lands with newly established governments in Africa and Cuba
    Keywords: technology, technological aid, Soviet Union, Africa, Cuba, decolonization.
    JEL: N60 N67 N97
    Date: 2017

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