The Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL) Program and British International Investment (BII, formerly the CDC Group), the UK’s development finance institution, invites expressions of interest for Major Research Grant projects relevant to the role of development finance in stimulating private sector development.
PEDL seek work that is directly applicable to understanding the impact of BII’s investments and that has potential to produce high-quality academic publications.
They highlight four topics of particular interest for this call. First, BII is a founding member and leader of the 2XCollaborative, which aims to support women as entrepreneurs, leaders, employees, and consumers. They are particularly interested in projects that combine existing administrative data and new data collection to unpack the channels through which women’s leadership improves outcomes for firms in the African and South Asian context. They provide some detail for an agenda in this area at the bottom of this call.
Second, they invite expressions of interest on projects related to climate change and environmental compliance. BII has a growing climate finance portfolio, guided by its climate strategy. They are interested in research that improves their understanding of:
- Uptake of resource-saving innovations by private sector firms and consumers.
- The role of concessional finance in promoting sustainable investments.
- How renewables and storage support the development of reliable electricity grids.
- The complementarity of investments that improve local environmental quality while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- How to stimulate private sector-led action in adaptation and resilience.
- Barriers to private sector investment in renewables, including regulatory risks (e.g., Ryan 2021 on solar pricing in India).
- MRGs are normally grants of £100,000 or more, though they will accept proposals for smaller projects in this call. There is no formal upper limit, but past MRGs have averaged around £300,000.
- Please note that an important criterion for funding of proposals is the relevance to understanding the impact of BII’s investments. BII’s current mandate is Africa and South Asia. Proposals for projects outside the focus countries should make a clear case for the relevance of the research to policy in lower-income countries, and also justify why the research is feasible only in non-target countries. Note that, at the moment, they are unable to fund projects located in Myanmar and Palestine.
- While researchers apply for MRGs, the grants will be issued through a contract between CEPR and a coordinating institution. Please also note that due to local Indian regulations regarding the return of foreign funds, any contract with an Indian institution will be invoice based with no funds paid up front.
- PEDL invites applications from researchers located anywhere in the world. PhD students are eligible to apply but should note that research team experience and ability to conduct a large scale project are considered during the evaluation process.
- They welcome expressions of interest on any topic related to the impact of women leadership. A sample of the questions relevant to this call:
- There is some evidence that women have more influence in countries with: 1) more egalitarian gender attitudes; and 2) better shareholder protection (Post and Bryon 2014; Hoobler et al. 2016). Are these patterns also true in BII-focus countries? What can be done to increase the influence of women in leadership roles in societies where gender egalitarianism and shareholder protection are weaker?
- Does the motivation for adding women to boards matter? For example, do laws vs. investor demands vs. intrinsic motivation of owners lead to differences in the values of female directors?
- Do attitudes of women and men who are corporate leaders differ, and if so, how? There is evidence that women and men differ in values and attitudes in values in the broader populations. However, Adams and Funk (2012) use Swedish data to show that women leaders are differentially selected from the population so that the values of female and male board members are much closer than they are in the population as a whole.
- How and when do differences in values map into differences in outcomes in the firms? For example, Sarkar and Selarka (2021) find in India that independent board members have larger effects and that the effect of women leadership is smaller when family members control key executive positions.
For more information, visit https://pedl.cepr.org/content/3rd-bii-mrg-call-development-finance