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The Politics of Results and Evidence in International Development: important new book

Duncan Green - August 5, 2015

The results/value for money steamroller grinds on, with aid donors demanding more attention to measurement of impact. At first sight that’s a good thing – who could be against achieving results and knowing whether you’ve achieved them, right? Step forward Ros Eyben, Chris Roche, Irene Guijt and Cathy Shutt, who take a more sceptical look in a new book, The Politics of Results and Evidence …

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How does Change Happen in global commodities markets? The case of Palm Oil

Duncan Green - August 4, 2015

This week’s Economist had an interesting discussion of the change process in the global palm oil industry. I assume all its claims are highly contested, but still, allow me to walk you through it and what it says about how change happens in one bit of the private sector. The basics: a boom industry with a dire track record of deforestation, labour rights abuses on the …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - August 3, 2015

Like the new format? Got any comments/suggestions for improvements? Please feed back in comments or vote (over there on the right) so we can try and deal with any glitches On with the show: 79 nations have never had a woman leader, including most of Africa and the US (tho that could change…..) Latin America, Asia and Europe do a bit better Being overweight/obese now …

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The blog’s just had a makeover – what do you think?

Duncan Green - July 31, 2015

Our wonderful new webmaster has redesigned the blog to make it more mobile-friendly, provide a better range of reading etc. Hopefully it will also sort out ongoing problems with people not receiving the email alerts they’ve signed up for. So please could you take the following highly sophisticated poll, and send any thoughts, and use the comments to tell us about any remaining glitches or …

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Another good idea from ODI – regular ‘scans’ of hot topics like resilience

Duncan Green - July 31, 2015

The aid and development business is full of tribes – separate ‘epistemic communities’ with their own jargon, shorthands and assumptions, which helps to hermetically isolate them from all the other communities. I try and surf across a few of them, but it’s hard – half the time I have only the vaguest idea what resilience, humanitarian, conflict or livelihoods people are talking about. So I …

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Fukuyama’s history of the State, Book 2: Political Order and Political Decay

Duncan Green - July 30, 2015
fukobook

Yesterday I reviewed Volume 1 (from pre-history up to the French Revolution), but before reviewing Political Order and Political Decay, the second volume of Francis Fukuyama’s monumental history of the state, it’s probably worth asking, why bother? Because whether providing/denying services, freedoms or functioning markets, the state is the most important institution underpinning development, and yet people in the foreign policy and development world operate …

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The Origins of Political Order: Review of Francis Fukuyama’s impressive history of the state

Duncan Green - July 29, 2015
fukobook

Ricardo Fuentes has been raving about this book for months, so I packed it in my holiday luggage. Actually it’s two books – The Origins of Political Order takes us from pre-history up to the French Revolution/American Revolution, and the subsequent Political Order and Political Decay brings us up to the present day. They each weigh in at around 500 pages, so hope you won’t mind …

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Learning by un-doing: the magic of immersion

Duncan Green - July 28, 2015

Varja Lipovsek of Twaweza, one of my favourite accountability NGOs, reflects on a recent staff immersion in a Ugandan village. It’s a bit too long, but just too nicely written to cut – sorry! Take a group of people that are used to talking about development while sitting in offices behind computers, going to meetings at ministries, writing reports and worrying about indicators, and give each some …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - July 27, 2015

Sciences v Humanities….. Unpacking last week’s global soft power index (Britain and Germany top, Mexico and China bottom). Some particularly tasty wonkwars last week – must be the summer heat: Deworming: No need to read all the exchanges, because Chris Blattman has spoken. Twice (initial discussion and then very sensible conclusions after a day of online debate); Miguel-Kremer wins: ‘you have to throw so much …

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Have the MDGs affected developing country policies and spending? Findings of new 50 country study.

Duncan Green - July 24, 2015

One of the many baffling aspects of the post-2015/Sustainable Development Goal process is how little research there has been on the impact of their predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals. That may sound odd, given how often we hear ‘the MDGs are on/off track’ on poverty, health, education etc, but saying ‘the MDG for poverty reduction has been achieved five years ahead of schedule’ is not …

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