Research Theme 2

EPRC's focus is on strengthening understanding of the linkage between macroeconomic performance and sectoral/microeconomics that are necessary to speed up the pace of socio-economic structural transformation.

This entails research analysis into the microeconomic and service delivery actions that translate into social-economic improvements at household and macroeconomic levels.

Our work in this area also focuses on developing effective responses to the ongoing national debate on the potential impact and effect of enhancing direct social protection for Ugandans as a means of alleviating poverty particularly on vulnerable groups i.e. the elderly, children and women.

Sub-Themes

2.1 Microeconomic Household Issues and Poverty Analysis

This sub-theme focuses on microeconomic issues that impact on household welfare more directly, including a continued analysis of poverty issues, vulnerability and the important issues of strengthening the linkage between micro and macroeconomic sub-sectors.

The analysis in this area could focus on analysing household survey data sets tailored to specific household issues such as impacts of various Government interventions on household welfare in various regions of the country, the effectiveness of interventions in rehabilitation and regions of the country, the effectiveness of interventions in rehabilitation and resettlement of internally displaced persons in the Northern part of the country, the likely short and long term effects of Government allocation of resources to vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly and what are the sectoral/macroeconomic policy issues in enhancing service delivery to the poor.

2.2: Social Service Delivery and Social Protection

This focuses on social services delivery in the areas of education, health, water and sanitation because of their direct link to poverty and also in view of the international commitment to the MDGs. Whereas previously the focus was on mobilizing resources for this sector, the critical research issues going forward would be those related to public finance management and how this affects social service delivery and what mechanisms can be adopted to improve the quality and value for money in the sector.

It is common knowledge that while Government has increased spending to social services; the quality of these services has instead deteriorated. The research could focus on the impact of poor social service delivery on poverty reduction, economic growth and social harmony.

Research could also focus on the sector specific measures that could be adopted to deal with particularly the complex institutional and political economy issues that translate into poor service delivery despite the heavy investment in social service infrastructure such as construction of health centres.

The Government is currently undertaking reforms in the social protection area which have potential to impact the social welfare of the population in a fundamental way, and expected to contribute to the country's quest for increased domestic savings. To-date this has involved putting in place a regulatory framework for all retirement benefits schemes, and the proposal to introduce completion in the sector as a way of improving governance.

The Government is also implementing a largely donor driven citizens Grants programs including cash transfers for the elderly. Research could focus on the impacts and sustainability of such targeted programs, and how best they could fund as well as the resources allocation trade-offs.

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