Duncan Green

This is a conversational blog written and maintained by Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB and author of ‘From Poverty to Power’. This personal reflection is not intended as a comprehensive statement of Oxfam's agreed policies.

5 ways to build Civil Society’s Legitimacy around the world

Duncan Green - May 9, 2018

Saskia Brechenmacher and Thomas Carothers, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, introduce and summarize the insights from their new collection of essays from civil society activists. Pressure on civic space keeps increasing around the world, driven by the toxic mix of rising authoritarianism, growing populism, and wobbly democracy. Battles over legitimacy are central to this trend. Powerholders don’t just attack specific civic groups carrying …

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A day in the life of an Oxfam researcher – fancy joining the team?

Duncan Green - May 8, 2018

Guest post from Deborah Hardoon (right) Psst, want my job? This is my last week as Deputy Head of Research at Oxfam. It’s a role which is as fascinating as it is challenging. You get to work on important global issues, with brilliant and bright people from all over the world. For details on the role and responsibilities, here’s the job description (closing date 27th …

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If you want to persuade decision makers to use evidence, does capacity building help?

Duncan Green - May 4, 2018

This guest post comes from Isabel Vogel (independent consultant, left) and Mel Punton (Itad) Billions of pounds of development assistance is being channelled into research and science, with the assumption that this will help tackle global problems. But in many countries, decision makers don’t turn to evidence as their first port of call when developing policies that affect people’s lives. This problem has sometimes been …

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The Economist comes out in support of Universal Health Care – here are the best bits

Duncan Green - May 3, 2018

This week’s Economist magazine leads on the case for Universal Health Care, worldwide. That’s a big deal – the Economist is very influential, can’t possibly be accused of being a leftie spendthrift, and the case it makes is powerful. A couple of non Economist readers asked me for a crib sheet of the 10 page report, so here are some of the excerpts that caught …

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Book Review: Why We Lie About Aid by Pablo Yanguas

Duncan Green - May 2, 2018

Guest post by Tom Kirk, of the LSE’s Centre for Public Authority in International Development Every so often you read something that brilliantly articulates an idea or issue you have been struggling with for a while, but could not properly capture. Why We Lie About Aid is one of those books. Full of pithy quotes, punchy anecdotes and insightful case studies, it draws upon an …

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Mark Goldring on how to maximise the impact of business on poverty and injustice

Duncan Green - May 1, 2018

Guest post from Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB’s Chief Executive  Last week I introduced an Oxfam event at which Paul Polman of Unilever and a number of proponents of social enterprises came together to explore what kind of new business models we need to help beat poverty for good. My starting point was that business has played a massive part in reducing extreme poverty, certainly more …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - April 30, 2018

Got back from Costa Rica (fab holiday, here’s a taste of one of the more exciting moments – yep that’s me) to find a Chaplinesque backlog of social media, emails, draft blog posts etc etc. That’ll teach me to go offline. ‘Economists tweet less, mention fewer people and have fewer conversations with strangers, and use less accessible language with more abbreviations and a more distant …

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Why donors ignore the evidence on what works, and transparency and accountability projects are a dead end. David Booth’s Non-Farewell Lecture.

Duncan Green - April 27, 2018

ODI is always innovating, and earlier this week organized a non-farewell lecture for one of its big thinkers, David Booth. As far as I could work out, this was a celebration of them stopping paying him (aka ‘retirement’), while he continues to work for them for free as a visiting fellow. Interesting business model. Anyway, for those that don’t know David’s work, he is an …

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The World Bank’s flagship report this year is on the future of work – here’s what the draft says

Duncan Green - April 26, 2018

The World Bank’s 2019 World Development Report will be on ‘The Changing Nature of Work’ and It’s worth reading because, even though this kind of annual flagship format feels a bit dated, WDRs are always a treasure trove of references and ideas, while what they miss out adds important insights into mainstream thinking in the aid biz. In late March a 140 page working draft …

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Book Review: Can Intervention Work? Rory Stewart and Gerald Knaus

Duncan Green - April 25, 2018

We’ve had some great speakers at the LSE this year, but Rory Stewart was top of the pops, according to the students’ evaluations. He rocked up at LSE, despite having just been reshuffled to Minister for Prisons, spoke without notes, and blew everyone away. Alas, he insisted on it being off the record, so I cheated – I went back to the 2011 book that …

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