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Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.

Energy Economics.

Air Pollution

Air pollution has become major challenge when it comes to citizen’s health. According to World Health Organization (WHO) outdoor (ambient) air pollution causes 4.2 million pre-mature deaths annually whereas 3.8 million deaths are caused due to indoor air pollution. As per estimates 91% people breathe air which exceeds WHO’s permissible limit. South Asians countries are also vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution. Countries like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, and Saudi Arabia face highest death toll due to bad air quality and this mainly include children under age of five years. Air pollution also causes heart stroke, respiratory illness, eye irritation and lungs problem in growing children, women and people of older age. According to New Delhi based surgeon air pollution is causing cancers in young females of less than 40 age.
Smog is also affecting developing countries badly. It is impacting economy, education of students as school and colleges remain close, causes accidents due to visibility issues and impacts air operations (delayed flights)
According to Punjab Smog commission, smog is caused by vehicular emissions (80%), brick kilns (20%) and other sources include industrial emissions
Pakistan is not alone for devastating impacts of bad air quality. Since air pollution is cross boundary issue therefore developing countries should collectively device a plan to tackle this issue together.

  1. Preventing NCD deaths through better air quality. Draft v 3, 11.6.2018, World Health Organization.
  2. Deaths from Air pollution Worldwide. 2018. State of Global Air
  3. Safi M. 2017. ‘Half my lung cancer patients are non-smokers’: toxic air crisis chokes Delhi. The Guardians.
  4. Shabbir M. 2018. Smog: A transboundary issue and its implications in India and Pakistan. Policy brief number 67.

Finding the cointegration and causal linkages between the electricity production and economic growth in Pakistan

Team Members: Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Muhammad Zeeshan

The present study reveals the impact of electricity production on economic growth in Pakistan. It covers the period of 1975–2010, and assumes a log-linear relationship between the variables. The bounds test for cointegration indicates a unique long-run relationship between the variables. Moreover, it finds that sub-optimal electricity production is eroding the private business investment in the short run. Based on these facts, this study advocates the promotion of hydropower plants that are beneficial for two reasons. First, it would produce clean power in the country. Second, the cost of production would also drop resulting in lower tariff rates. Finally, it finds bidirectional causal relationship between the variables in the long run whereas no causal relationship is found in the short run.


Central Bank Response to Rising Oil Prices: An ARDL Bounds Testing Approach to Cointegration

Team Members: Muhammad Zeeshan, Dr. Vaqar Ahmed


The study empirically explores the relationships among energy use, economic growth and financial development for India and China on annual data for 1971-2011. Using Auto Regressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) approach to cointegration model, it suggests that energy consumption is positively influenced by proportion of urban population, while it is negatively influenced by financial development, economic growth and proportion of industrial output in both the economies. The results also further suggest that urbanization adversely influences economic growth, whereas energy use positively influences growth for India. In contrast, while financial development, energy use and industrial output adversely influence the growth, the urbanization favorably influences the same for China. The finding for China is quite contrary to the common belief that the performance of industrial sector is the key success for achieving higher growth.


Energy, environment and growth nexus in South Asia

Team Members: Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Muhammad Zeeshan

The present study investigates the energy, environment and growth nexus for a panel of South Asian countries including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. The simultaneous analysis of real GDP, energy consumption and CO2 emissions is conducted for the period 1980–2010. Levin panel unit root test and Im test panel unit root both indicate that all the variables are I (1). In addition, Kao’s panel Cointegration test specifies a stable long-term relationship between all these variables. Empirical findings show that a 1 % increase in energy consumption increases output by 0.81 % in long run whereas for the same increase in CO2 emission output falls by 0.17 % in long run. Panel Granger causality tests report short-run causality running from energy consumption to CO2 emissions and from CO2 emissions to GDP.


Energy, Taxation and Political Economy of Pakistan

Team Members: Muhammad Zeeshan

Though various sources can be tracked to raise the level of national exchequer, national tax base remains most important. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), while having majority in the federal government plans to increase tax to GDP ratio up to 15% which is currently 9% and has been declining over time. Pakistan has a workforce of 58 million out of which only 2 million are registered taxpayers. Monetizing the potential 3.2 taxpayers can provide additional tax financing to the development programs.

The creeping reform process in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is also a big hurdle. If this institution still believes in its current passive strategy, it needs around 32 years to target the potential tax payers. To identify the hidden tax payers, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) should facilitate the FBR department which is very difficult otherwise.

The alternative financing mean which is the tax financing in the present case becomes very important especially when the PML-N government seems divided over a proposed increase in gas tariff presented by Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources. However, the limited options provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may not allow government to suspend the gas price rise as the government is supposed to collect around PKR100 billion under the IMF programs.

A number of factors in political economy do not allow the government to raise the gas prices. The textile and industrial sectors both claim that the proposed rise in gas tariffs would not allow them to take benefit from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) by the European Union. In addition, the CNG sector is afraid that such a rise would throw various CNG stations out of the business. All these factors may give benefit to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the local government elections scheduled in the end of January. On the other hand, the government is under severe pressure as it is already facing criticism over the past rise in electricity prices.

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Monetary Policy Response to Rising Oil Prices

Team Members: Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Muhammad Zeeshan

Pakistan is a net oil importer and faces frequent international oil price shocks. These shocks bring macroeconomic uncertainty resulting in output loss and inflation. Hence, these oil price shocks are a serious concern for monetary authorities in setting the interest rate. The Stat Bank of Pakistan (SBP) faces a dual problem in such a situation. A tight monetary policy stance though limits inflation but results in output losses. On the other hand, an easy monetary policy stance reduces the output loss but brings more inflation. The present study quantifies the optimal interest rate which, if implemented by the SBP after the oil price shocks, will maintain minimum uncertainty with least variation in prices and output.


Energy Consumption and Economic Growth in Pakistan

Team Members: Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Muhammad Zeeshan
The present study investigates the impact of energy consumption on real GDP, capital stock, and labor force using annual data for the period of 1971-2012. For empirical analysis, it employs the Structural Vector Auto-regression (SVAR) framework. The results reveal that economic growth increases the demand for labor force, but this rise is not sustainable. Same is the case for other factors such as capital stock and energy. We see that greater energy inputs are required to facilitate the new additions to capital stock. Further, an exogenous shock to capital stock and labor force stimulates the economic activity temporarily. Rising capital stock also demands greater units of labor as productive activity expands in the economy. The research work recommends the government to focus on its supply-line. A certain and affordable power supply is the need of time.