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International Development is fundamentally concerned with differences in the quality of life between countries and what determines these differences. It is specifically concerned with so-called developing countries, those in which the quality of life is low by international standards. The quality of life is broadly defined to include achievements in income, health, education, security and other conditions that people value. This is consistent with Amartya Sen’s concept of development, which is the removal of un-freedoms that prevent people from exercising their reasoned agency.
The International Development Research Group looks at a number of international development issues. These include rich country efforts to support development in Pacific Island countries, the effectiveness of official development assistance, drivers of development gaps between Southeast Asian countries, and at multidimensional measures of well-being. Its investigation has a predominantly empirical orientation, and is best described as applied economics research.
The Group’s membership is determined by a researcher being a named investigator in one or more of its funded research projects or a closely-related project. This applies to salaried Deakin University staff. Its membership also includes a number of senior, high profile adjunct and honorary staff, each of which makes a significant and direct contribution to the Group’s research.
Funding for Group research projects comes principally from the Australian Research Council.
See what projects are currently in the pipeline.
Supporting Pacific Development
Pacific Island countries face huge development challenges. Regional poverty is increasing and most countries will fail to achieve most of the Millennium Development Goals. The research project responds to this by looking at the extent to which 22 OECD Development Assistance Committee member countries support development in the Pacific through their efforts with respect to aid, trade, migration, private investment, security, the creation and dissemination of new technologies and environmental sustainability. It will develop a multidimensional index that will rank these 22 countries on the basis of these efforts. This index will be updated annually and widely disseminated. The index will be disseminated as the ADRI-Sustineo Pacific Index. This project is funded by the Australian Research Council and Sustineo Pty Ltd. The Chief Investigator of this project is Professor Mark McGillivray and the Partner Investigator is Adjunct Associate Professor David Carpenter. Other ADRI participants are Associate Professor Simon Feeny and Dr Sasi Iamsiraroj.
Towards Better Multidimensional Well-Being Measurement
Many new and insightful well-being conceptualisations and concepts have emerged from research over recent decades. Well-being is now widely regarded as multidimensional, enveloping diverse and behaviourally distinct dimensions. Empirical research has failed to keep up with this work, providing very crude and limited measures that struggle to adequately capture the vitality of well-being. The research project addresses this by further developing composite, multidimensional well-being measures and providing new guidance on their use. The outcome will be more incisive information on well-being achievement at national and sub-national levels that can better inform efforts to promote the good life. This project is funded by the Australian Research Council. The Chief Investigator of this project is Professor Mark McGillivray. A number of other soon-to-be appointed ADRI staff will also work on the project.
Reducing Infant and Child Mortality: Understanding Developing Country Performance
The fourth United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the rates of child mortality. Economic growth is widely accepted as one of the key drivers in reducing mortality. Yet its impact varies greatly across countries, depending on the nature and pattern of growth. This project has two main objectives. The first is to provide a cross-country measure of the extent to which countries are more effective at reducing child and infant mortality rates than would be predicted by their economic growth rates. The second is to analyse the determinants of this measure. The Chief Investigators of this project are Associate Professor Simon Feeny and Professor Mark McGillivray
Narrowing the ASEAN Development Gap
There is widespread concern among ASEAN member nations of a widening development gap among its membership. These concerns have been heightened by the addition in the mid- to late-1990s of Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam to the ASEAN-6 group of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. This project defines and quantifies the development gap, identifies key drivers of it and provides a framework for monitoring it. It has a special focus on the potential of the ASEAN Connectivity Master Plan to reduce the gap. The project will result in a book published by Routledge. Key project findings will be presented at the ASEAN 2013 Summit in Brunei. The project is funded by the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta and is being conducted in partnership with Sustineo Pty Ltd. ADRI project participants are Professor Mark McGillivray and Adjunct Associate Professor David Carpenter, Associate Professor Simon Feeny and Dr Sasi Iamsiroj.
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