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A Closer Look at Economic Inclusion during the 2024 Inclusive Economy Day in Paris

The Inclusive Economy Center at the S&O Institute of HEC Paris organized the second edition of the Inclusive Economy Day on May 2, 2024, at FIAP - Jean Monnet, 30 Rue Cabanis, 75014 Paris.


Throughout the event, academics shared their studies on refugees and migration, inclusive health, and social ties, complemented by invaluable insights from a spectrum of practitioners. Small group dialogues to brainstorm took place on how experimental research methodologies can effectively equip organizations to tackle real-world social challenges head-on.

  

RESEARCH SESSION 1 – REFUGEES AND GLOBAL MIGRATION

The first panel was about refugees and global migration, and I will delve into each presentation below.

 

Anselm Hager, Humboldt University

Research paper: The Impact of Forced Migration on In-Group and Out-Group Social Capital

The first presentation was about a study conducted in Lebanon where the presence of refugee showed that people had less prejudice. People showed also more trust and altruism towards Syrian refugees with a positive spill over on existing refugees such as Palestinians. Refugees also are a positive variable for more economic growth or business opportunities. In France, the anti-migrant sentiment is stronger in rural areas where immigrants almost nowhere to be seen. So, it also kind of confirm that idea that living in close community with refugees and migrants, our attitudes could change.

 

SM Musa, Rotterdam School of Management

Research paper: Institutional Totalization: Securitization, Resource Mobilization, and Resistance in a Refugee Camp

Musa focused on the largest refugee camps in Bangladesh home to Rohingyas. Musa talks about the totalitarian like turn institution have taken regarding the management of the camp. Bureaucracy is big factor of the rules enforced on the camp. Docile bodies is needed to run the camps and keeping it running. There is restrictions within the camp that limit the movement and freedom of the refugees. Some refugees are hired by NGO and the UN to help and there are perceived as elite receiving more money. Resistance manifests itself in art and creativity. There is no room for self-determination and organizing resulting in loss of hope and prospects essential to human life. The issue that arises is how those organizations are maintaining a system rather than providing concrete solutions for integration and the end of the campaign. Providing hope to the youngest would be the bare minimum for Musa as they need to look forward to a better world.

 

Sandra Portocarrero, Columbia Business School

Research paper: Entrepreneurial Activity as a Way to Override a Stigmatized Immigrant Status

choose an entrepreneurial path in order to detach themselves from the negative stigma associated with being an illegal immigrant. Interesting to note that in the USA you can start a business as an undocumented immigrant. They want to be recognized for who they are instead of their legal status. The fact that society values entrepreneurs allow them to leave behind one stigma and move more comfortably in their journey. Organizations in the USA such as Immigrants Rising provide financial help to immigrants in their quest to run their own business. It is not so much frowned upon to be an undocumented immigrant entrepreneur than a simple worker. Worker have oftentimes less choice in their career and occupy less valued work positions. It is a bit hard to draw a parallel with France as undocumented migrants are not allowed to create or run a business legally. This American exception echoes the remnant of the American Dream that sees entrepreneurship as the top of the pyramid of success.

 

Raphaëlle Thirion, Humando Senior Program Manager, The Adecco Group

Raphaëlle Thirion from the temp group Adecco discussed the 1000 refugees her company helps train according to companies' needs. Refugees are helped with their documentation so they can continue working. It was interesting as much as the small things that make life easier for a worker are not part of the CSR or KPIs because of being perceived as not as valuable as a profit generating KPIs. It shows there is still a lot of work to be done on the subject. Helping companies understand that the wellbeing of their teams is paramount is essential in my line of work. Companies have a huge role to play in the integration of migrants and refugees. They do have the power to influence policies and talk directly with local or national authorities. We are far from companies acting like union, but shouldn’t be the next step of post-industrial societies?

 

 

RESEARCH SESSION 2 – ACCESS TO HEALTH

 The next panel discussed Access to Health with a global south orientation.

 

Carlos Inoue, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Research paper: The malleability of expertise: the influence of peers’ work styles on expert behaviour

Carlos Inoue presented a study about peer influence on C-section in Brazil. The study reveals that colleagues’ opinions on c-section influence others. Brazil has one the highest rate of birth by c-section, more than 55 %. The recommended rate is about 10 to 15%z. The study also shows a financial incentive in performing c-section as the OBGYN is paid more for the procedure. The busiest the hospital the least peer pressure might impact a doctor’s decision. Final conclusions shows that c-section have more complications for mother who can develop infections and longer recovery time. This intervention was very interesting as it echoes the discrimination in health treatment of women of color in western societies. Why would a woman in a no risk pregnancy might require c-section? The paper says that mothers have more risks of complication after the C-section than the baby. Do we have the same results in the USA or Europe? Do we also have more c-section because women bodies are different? It raises many questions, and it really makes me want to look further in the health treatment choices that are made for diverse populations with similar health conditions.  We discussed at The Grey Space of Mind how people of color suffer more discrimination in a health setting. Black women in the US die more during child delivery than any other group of women. The Mediterranean syndrome in Europe show that doctors are more brutal and less empathic to people of color pain as they assume that they are either faking their symptoms or pain level.  

 

Leandro Pongeluppe, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Research paper: Privacy at What Cost? Saving the Lives of HIV Patients With Electronic Medical Records

Leandro Pongeluppe’s research investigates the impact of tracing HIV patients through electronic medical records (EMR) in Malawi in saving lives. The tracing can involve shame or privacy violations. The patients can have their privacy information given to the chief villager that can coerce them to keep up with their treatments or even exclude from the community. The tracing can also be revealed to the community which violates the confidentiality and privacy between patients and their doctor. The study shows that other factors are more efficient in predicting possible death or complications, the highest one being a low Body Mass Index (BMI). I find it always difficult to share my private information even though I am not the opt out activist I would love to be. What is my freedom in managing my health? It echoes the anti-vaccine groups in France who found the QR code as a proof of vaccination, with professional consequences on the health workers, Orwellian. Where do we draw the line at privacy? And why my health can be used against me? Very interesting presentation. The data we give away are never neutral because we never know how they can be used against us.

 

Jaafar Heikel, Associate professor, Mohammed VI University of Health Sciences

Dr Jaafar Heikel talked about the high proportion of curative treatment over preventive treatment in Africa, topping 78% in some countries. He also brought some light about c-section and specifically in Morocco. The first disparity lies, for example, in rural areas, with 13% of c-section, and 27% in urban areas. Educated women are twice more likely to choose the c-section over natural birth. Women who spend a lot of time on social media are three times more likely to choose this option.  The financial gain in performing can also be a relevant factor in the choice made by the OBGYN. But also, the days of the week, from Thursday until the end of the week, c-section are less performed explained through a personal and convenient choice not to delay the weekend. Another aspect, I found interesting is that 80% of the death in Morocco are due to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and renal failure. It signals that having a low EMR could be or not be the culprit as the issues lies mainly within compliance according to Heikel. For example, 50% of patients with diabetes do not comply with their treatment even it is is free of charge. The growing lack of trust in institutions and the government brings doubt in the motive of the state to give away free medication resulting in people paying to go in private hospital and be prescribed the exact same medication as the one from the public sector.

 

RESEARCH SESSION 3 – SOCIAL CONNECTIVITY

This session started with an introduction on the mixed methodology used by academics and public policy makers when conducting research and applications, specifically RCT. A Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) is a research method considered the gold standard for evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention. It involves randomly dividing a population into two or more groups. One group receives the intervention being studied (treatment group), while the others serve as a control group and don't receive it (or receive a different intervention). By the end of the trial, researchers compare the outcomes between the groups to isolate the impact of the specific intervention. This randomization helps control for external factors that might influence the results. The rigor of RCTs makes them increasingly attractive in public policy making by helping with:

·      Evaluating Policy Interventions: RCTs can assess the effectiveness of various social programs, educational initiatives, or crime prevention strategies. For instance, an RCT might compare the academic performance of students receiving different tutoring programs.

·      Evidence-Based Policy: Policymakers can leverage RCT results to make data-driven decisions. This can help prioritize interventions with proven positive outcomes and avoid wasting resources on ineffective ones.

 

Jacques Berger, Director, Action Tank Entreprise & Pauvreté.

Berger explained how he works with public services and companies to bring new types of solutions to combat poverty or I would personally translate as to make poverty bearable to the poorest. I found the projects to be interesting as it raises many questions. From a sceptic perspective it could feel like a bucket in the ocean to have pre engaged costs of poor households reduced in the form of a lower price for their internet bill or even baby food. Do policy makers tend to focus on micro issues when there is need for a systemic change? Why is baby food not a free food (You also find baby food in pharmacies in most countries.)? Do parents need to pay extra “taxes” when they are contributing to the « réarmement démographique » as preached by Emmanuel Macron, the French President?  What kind of society we want to be and how can we create a bigger impact for all of us. What is the goal in maintaining people in poverty by reducing pre-engaged costs? Do people have significantly improved their life through those programs? How do you measure the success? Can a life be dramatically changed because you are no longer in the red financially? Are we maintaining or changing the logic of poverty? How do we measure the effect of reduced cost of living on the quality of life? Are these costs even fair to begin with? Do we always have to combine capitalism and social change? Can we trust that capitalism is the answer for exiting poverty or is it the source of it?

 

During the breakout group sessions, I chose the one on loneliness. We discussed the cost related to loneliness. Loneliness defined as a one-person household. We mentioned the cost related to the household expenses: rent, bills, or grocery. The cost of living alone is also a price we pay through carbon emissions; one person households are bas for the environment. I mentioned the cost of having to rely on public services instead of a community for health-related issues, tech education or help, getting a ride to the doctor and all the costs for unnecessary doctor appointments as it may be a way for people to maintain social “sanity” instead of having strong social ties to connect with. It is basically more expensive to live alone. We also see this discussion when it comes to single people who are not in a relationship and how they pay a single tax. Another aspect could be where people live and how it can impact their loneliness. The banlieues have a reputation for being community oriented. There could be a benefit to live in a city where people check on each other and tend to show basic solidarity that comes from the mix of individualist and collectivist cultures from mainly immigrant backgrounds. One participant said that her friend thinks that this social bound has decreased since the 80s. I think her friend’s perceived decrease is anecdotal as it is still stronger than in other geographical settings. The 80s and before are quite unique periods as they were a prolific period for immigration as people came massively under the family reunion law. When people arrive first in a country where they don’t speak the language, they will automatically gravitate towards their own community which was a survival tactic. But as people integrated and gained some autonomy, it could feel like the bond is lesser when it has evolved with the people who are living and changing with time. Relatively I would defend that this bond is still stronger than other areas or specific urban settings.

 

 Yann Algan, HEC Paris

Yann Algan presented research conducted in Montréal in the 80s about teaching boys social skills and looking at the long term impact. The results show that the experimental group do better at graduating high school, commit less crimes and earn more money. I asked him about the reason of declining social skills. There are no definitive answers, but one observation made was that mistrust in the institutions and the government could be path to some explanations. This argument was mentioned earlier by Jaafar Heikel regarding the lack of compliance to government health policy. This echoes the vaccination drama it was in France to convince people to get vaccinated and to restrict their freedom if they were not.

 

Naja Pape, INSEAD

Research paper: One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Experimental Evidence on What Motivates Women to Sign Up for Entrepreneurial Training

 Naja Pape talked about what motivates women to sign up for entrepreneurial training in India. She observed that the entrepreneur ecosystem is male dominated and tend to exclude women. Women who show up to events with a plus one might play a role in encouraging them to sign up for a program. It was interesting to see what factors could help in their decisions. I followed both women focused entrepreneurial training and mixed. What I learned is that in many settings women do not have the same issues or barriers on their path than men. Gender specific training might be relevant. But even big incubators have an over representation of men. I agree with Naja Pape in the need to include women entrepreneur’s examples for people to feel represented and that it is possible. It is quite hard to follow up after those trainings and to know who went through the process of creating their company. At African Legal Factory, we offer similar training for entrepreneurs who want to raise funds or learn about legal matters in France and in Africa. We try to keep the community alive as much as we can though events, meetups, webinars and an evolving offer to match every step of the journey. I agree that men usually are over represented in those trainings but it would be interesting to see if female entrepreneurs who already had training in a women specific session would possibly gravitate towards the mixed one as they gain more confidence in their project.

 

Dan Wang, Columbia Business SchoolResearch paper: The Impact of High-Skilled Immigration on Regional Entrepreneurship

Dan Wang talked about immigrants coming under an employment to the US contribute to the economic growth. He talks about the many barriers on the path to entrepreneurship but how they contribute positively to entrepreneurial ventures, they are not allowed to create a business under such visa. Their knowledge sharing is gold in shaping and feeding the ecosystem. Their employment could be a pathway to entrepreneurship and positive outcomes for society and the economy. The H1B visa already sounds like an elitist visa as people are hired for their skills and talent. I see that it creates a timing for immigrant workers to possibly launch their business. They must follow a specific set of rules different from the rest and in order to let their creative and entrepreneurial side take over they have to wait which feels unnatural. In the meantime, their talent is used possibly for those new business ventures without compensation which can be frustrating and unfair.

 

Kevin André, Founder of Kawaa

Kévin André talked about third places as he created his own, Kawaa which offers dining and coffee options. People can choose to pay it forward by paying for someone’s meal. More than 400 diverse events are organized every year such karaoke and more. He has 50% of his client who became regulars which attest of the third-place nature of Kawa by the creation of new habits. A lot of projects are shaped and born from people meeting other people for the first time. Kévin brought up something interesting in the wording used on his flyers: mentioning loneliness was a total failure as people don’t want to be seen as lonely because it is perceived as a negative association in society. But as soon as the word disappeared his flyers were more successful in attracting new people. Kévin shared an alarming statistic that 11 million people in France have less than 5 conversations per year which proves the loneliness epidemic and the need for third places.

 

The Inclusive Economy Day proved to be a remarkable event, rich with insightful discussions and valuable perspectives on fostering a more inclusive economy. The diverse range of topics explored, from refugees and migration to entrepreneurial endeavors, underscored the multifaceted nature of inclusive economic practices. The depth of engagement from both academics and practitioners alike showcased a shared commitment to addressing real-world social challenges through innovative research and collaborative action. As we reflect on the day's discussions, it's evident that by coming together to exchange ideas and experiences, we take meaningful steps towards building a more equitable and prosperous future for all. Here's to continued collaboration and progress in the journey towards an inclusive economy.


Fatima MOUDJAOUI

Founder of The Grey Space of Mind
Chief Content Strategy Officer at African Legal Factory


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