Economics

Want to empower women? Digital Financial Services are the way to go!

Duncan Green - July 5, 2016

Sophie Romana (left) and Shelley Spencer (right) report back from the June 8 high level roundtable organized by NetHope and USAID, which brought together mobile banking and gender champions to reflect on how Digital Financial Services (“DFS”) can galvanize women’s empowerment. Women’s empowerment is often measured by their access to resources and ability to make decisions over how they are used.  Recent evidence shows that DFS delivered …

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What’s the likely impact of Brexit on development, aid and Oxfam? Any opportunities amid the gloom?

Duncan Green - June 30, 2016

Following on Tuesday’s retrospective ‘how did this happen?’ piece, some thoughts on the future, starting wide (development in general) then narrowing down to the aid business, and all the way to Oxfam/INGOs. All highly tentative, subject to correction etc in the coming days. One big assumption: I’m assuming that Brexit actually goes ahead. And one pleasant surprise – there are a few opportunities as well …

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What does ‘How Change Happens’ thinking tell us about Brexit?

Duncan Green - June 28, 2016

I was in Lisbon running a ‘How Change Happens’ summer school when the Brexit news came in, so I thought I’d apply an HCH analysis to a seismic event. I’m not an expert on UK politics, so this is bound to be pretty uninformed compared to the avalanche of post mortems in the press, but let’s see where it goes. First up a disclaimer. As Timothy …

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Will Bill Gates’ chickens end African poverty?

Duncan Green - June 23, 2016

  Joseph Hanlon and Teresa Smart are unimpressed by a new initiative, but disappointingly avoid all the potential excruciating puns Bill Gates announced on 7 June that he is giving 100,000 chickens to the poor because chickens are “easy to take care of” and a woman with just five hens in Africa can make $1000 per year. For Mozambique where we work, this is remarkable …

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How Buddhist Tax Accountants and Whistle Blowers can change the world

Duncan Green - June 10, 2016

Max Lawson is back again (he seems to have more time to write now he’s Oxfam International’s policy guy on inequality) to discuss tax morality and a bizarre encounter with a Buddhist accountant A few years ago I went on a hiking holiday with a number of people I didn’t know, and ended up befriending a tax accountant.  He was a very nice man, who had been …

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What’s happening to inequality in China? Update from a visit to Beijing

Duncan Green - June 7, 2016

Spent a fascinating few days in Beijing last week, at the invitation of Oxfam Hong Kong. The main topic was inequality, including a big seminar with lots of academics (NGOs are very research-based in China – it was a graphtastic, PhD-rich week). Here are some of the headlines: Income Inequality in China is changing fast. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Gini index …

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First inequality, now neoliberalism: how many statues are left to kick over outside the IMF?

Duncan Green - June 6, 2016

Max Lawson, now Oxfam International’s policy guy on inequality, shares his newfound love for an old foe Last week the IMF published an article in its magazine that caused a considerable stir around the world.  Entitled ‘Neoliberalism: oversold?’ the short piece by Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri, all from the Fund’s Research Department, questions whether the economic approach of neoliberalism has been taken …

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The 2016 Multidimensional Poverty Index was launched yesterday. What does it say?

Duncan Green - June 3, 2016

This is at the geeky, number-crunching end of my spectrum, but I think it’s worth a look (and anyway, they asked nicely). The 2016 Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index was published yesterday. It now covers 102 countries in total, including 75 per cent of the world’s population, or 5.2 billion people. Of this proportion, 30 per cent of people (1.6 billion) are identified as multidimensionally poor. The …

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Thomas Piketty on inequality in developing countries (great, but still not enough on politics)

Duncan Green - May 31, 2016

I heard econ rock star Thomas Piketty speak for the first time last week – hugely enjoyable. The occasion was the annual conference of the LSE’s new International Inequalities Institute, with Piketty headlining. He was brilliant: original and funny, riffing off traditional France v Britain tensions, and reeling off memorable one liners: ‘meritocracy is a myth invented by winners’; ‘It’s difficult to be an honest …

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How Change Happens: a conversation with 25 top campaigners from around the world

Duncan Green - May 18, 2016

Spent an exhilarating morning last week with Oxfam’s ‘Campaigns and Advocacy Leadership Programme’. Must have been at least 20 nationalities in the room, with huge experience and wisdom. The topic was How Change Happens (what else). To give you a flavour, here are some of the topics that came up, with my takes on them: Is power a zero sum game, i.e. empowering one group …

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