January 2013

Jobs for wonks: three new openings at Oxfam

admin - January 31, 2013

I’m taking time out from blogging today partly because my computer’s on the blink, but also because I promised to plug some new jobs in Oxfam that I thought would particularly interest the kinds of weirdoes intellectuals and deep thinkers who read this blog: First up, our MEL pin-up Karl Hughes is off to the ADB, so if you fancy becoming our ‘global impact evaluation …

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Arab Spring v Muslim Tigers: what’s the connection between human development and revolution?

admin - January 30, 2013

Just before the Arab Spring kicked off in early 2011, I was happily linking to some really interesting work by Dani Rodrik (one of my development heroes) on ‘muslim tigers’, pointing out that in terms of human development, the top 10 performers since 1970 were not the usual suspects (East Asia, Nordics) but Muslim countries – Oman, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria all …

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What do 6,000 people on the receiving end of aid think of the system? Important new book

admin - January 29, 2013

Just finished Time to Listen: Hearing People on the Receiving End of International Aid, by Mary B. Anderson, Dayna Brown and Isabella Jean. It’s published by CDA Collaborative Learning Projects, a non-profit based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The book reminds me of the World Bank’s great Voices of the Poor study, only this time it’s ‘Voices of the aided’, a distillation of 6000 interviews carried out …

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Has Zimbabwe’s land reform actually been a success? A new book says yes.

admin - January 28, 2013

I’ve never been to Zimbabwe, so tend to get my messages from the news coverage. On land issues, that means a picture of a predatory state driving white farmers off the land and handing it out to cronies and bogus war veterans, who fail to produce anything much in the way of crops. Zimbabwe Takes Back its Land, a new book co-authored by Joe Hanlon, …

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From pinstripes to poverty: a refugee banker’s first 100 days at Oxfam

admin - January 25, 2013

Oxfam is always keen to employ unusual suspects, none more so than Will Martindale, a banker turned “do gooder” (right, and no, that isn’t his Oxfam desk). Here he reflects on his first 100 days working among the (supposed) angels. Banking. Most hate it. Few understand it. And I miss it. I miss the pace, the energy, and the super smart people fluent in numerous languages. …

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Evidence and results wonkwar final salvo (for now): Eyben and Roche respond to Whitty and Dercon + your chance to vote

admin - January 24, 2013

In this final post (Chris Whitty and Stefan Dercon have opted not to write a second installment), Rosalind Eyben and Chris Roche reply to their critics. And now is your chance to vote (right) – but only if you’ve read all three posts, please. The comments on this have been brilliant, and I may well repost some next week, when I’ve had a chance to …

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Launch of ‘If’ – new megacampaign to tackle global hunger: how does it compare with ‘Make Poverty History’?

admin - January 23, 2013

Sorry for a second post in one day, but the launch of If is a biggie Ah the perils of age – am I becoming one of those annoying old guys who greets every new idea (however excellent) with a weary sigh and ‘we already did/discussed all that back in the 19XXs’? I ask because I have a distinct sense of ‘here we go again’ …

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The evidence debate continues: Chris Whitty and Stefan Dercon respond from DFID

admin - January 23, 2013

Yesterday Chris Roche and Rosalind Eyben set out their concerns over the results agenda. Today Chris Whitty (left), DFID’s Director of Research and Evidence and Chief Scientific Adviser and Stefan Dercon (right), its Chief Economist, respond. It is common ground that “No-one really believes that it is feasible for external development assistance to consist purely of ‘technical’ interventions.” Neither would anyone argue that power, politics and …

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The political implications of evidence-based approaches (aka start of this week’s wonkwar on the results agenda)

admin - January 22, 2013

The political implications of evidence-based approaches The debate on evidence and results continues to rage. Rosalind Eyben and Chris Roche, two of the organiser’s of next April’s Big Push Forward conference on the Politics of  Evidence, kick off a discussion. Tomorrow Chris Whitty, DFID’s Director of Research and Evidence and Chief Scientific Adviser, and Stefan Dercon, its Chief Economist, respond Distinct from its more general …

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Should we (and everyone in Davos) worry about extreme wealth? New Oxfam briefing

admin - January 21, 2013

Good to see Oxfam highlighting inequality in its media briefing ahead of this week’s annual gathering of power & plutocrats in Davos. Because inequality is about the relationship between different social groups, it is inherently more political and more controversial than poverty. As our head of campaigns Ben Phillips, who packs a mean sound bite, said in his Al Jazeera interview, ‘’We sometimes talk about …

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