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22 June 2022 Kathrin Haimerl, Abteilung Kommunikation, University of Passau

Professor Michael Grimm (University of Passau, pictured on the right) and Dr. Edward Asiedu (University of Ghana) Uli Schwarz, University of Passau

Dr. Edward Asiedu experienced poverty in his childhood in Ghana. Now he is researching ways to ensure that poor children do not become poor parents. With the support of a fellowship, he is now developing a blueprint for actions at the University of Passau as first visiting professor of the Passau International Centre of Advanced and Interdisciplinary Studies (PICAIS). On Wednesday, 13 July, he will be sharing highlights from his research at a symposium about digitalisation in Africa.

Professor Michael Grimm at the Passau International Centre of Advanced and Interdisciplinary Studies (PICAIS) will be welcoming a special guest: Dr. Edward Asiedu from the University of Ghana is the first person to be awarded a fellowship by PICAIS, a platform devoted to promoting interdisciplinary research in the University's guiding themes and committed to plugging these research efforts into international networks.

Dr. Asiedu is a development economist like Professor Grimm who researches into the causes of poverty and the impact of political action. His line of inquiry includes questions about social security and the pension system. In many African national economies, poor households have no access to the healthcare and pension system. At the University of Passau, Dr. Asiedu intends to investigate the extent to which new, digital platforms can be used to create new options. He hopes that his networking with researchers of the new DFG Research Training Group 2720: "Digital Platform Ecosystems (DPE)" will serve him as a source of valuable inspiration.

When poverty causes people to make worse decisions

The Ghanaian researcher in Passau is also developing experimental methods to establish whether children who grow up in poor households do not only start out from a place of disadvantage but also make decisions that will have long-term negative consequences for them. "I am trying to understand to what degree poverty impacts children in their behaviour," says Dr. Asiedu. "What does it mean to grow up in a poor household? How does this affect behaviour in terms of risk taking, in terms of impatience or in terms of competitiveness?" Experiments addressing these questions have already been conducted, but merely for adults and primarily within the OECD context. Dr. Asiedu wants to refine these methods so they can be applied to the situation of children in African countries as well.

The Ghanaian grew up near Accra, knows what poverty feels like: "I myself come from a poor household, I'm familiar with the situations that I am researching. Poverty was a big deal in my childhood," he reports. "That's why I also have a different take on the trade-offs that market women get into. My mother was one of them. She had to decide whether to invest the money available in my studies, although she would risk losing her business if she did."

Kick-off event on 13 July

With his research topics, Dr. Asiedu successfully applied for the first PICAIS fellowship. It will allow him to conduct research at the University of Passau over a six-month period. "We look forward to working together with Dr. Asiedu and taking forward new projects in the field of development economics," says development economist Professor Michael Grimm who heads PICAIS together with his colleague cultural science scholar Professor Daniela Wawra. On Wednesday, 13 July, the centre in Passau will be holding a public symposium on digitalisation and its potential for Africa in English in collaboration with the Research Training Group DPE and the Chair of Development Economics. Dr. Asiedu will be presenting some aspects of his research. Speakers from the University of Passau and the German Institute for Global and Area Studies in Hamburg have been invited as well. The event will run from 3 to 6 pm in the Juridicum Building, Innstraße 41, room SR 147b. If you are interested in attending, please register by email at

The Passau International Centre for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies is the central platform for academic excellence, interdisciplinary research and network-building at the University of Passau. Since the summer semester 2021, it has been promoting research aligned with the University's strategic guiding themes: digitalisation, sustainable development and Europe. In organising two calls for applications every year, it supports innovative interdisciplinary project and event ideas both financially and by providing the necessary infrastructure.

Contact for scientific information:

Professor Michael Grimm
Chair of Development Economics
Innstraße 29
94032 Passau


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