Economics

The income of the world’s poor is going up, but they’re $1 trillion poorer. What’s going on?

Duncan Green - April 28, 2016

Oxfam number cruncher Deborah Hardoon tries to get her head round something weird – according to the stats, the poorest half of the people are getting poorer even though their incomes are rising. It has become something of a tradition that in January every year we take a look at the Forbes list of billionaires and the Credit Suisse Global Wealth databook and calculate how …

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Book Review: Branko Milanovic’s brilliant take on Global Inequality

Duncan Green - April 15, 2016

Some of my favourite development economists are nomads, people with feet in different regions, which seems to make them better able to identify interesting patterns and similarities/differences between countries. Ha-Joon Chang (Korea/UK), Dani Rodrik (Turkey/US) and now Branko Milanovic (Serbia/US), whose latest book Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization is a brilliant and thought-provoking essay stuffed with enough graphs to satisfy …

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How do we make sure the Panama Papers lead to lasting reforms on tax evasion?

Duncan Green - April 7, 2016

Scandals like the Panama Papers are a massive potential driver of policy change. In normal times, the sources of inertia are great and politicians wishing to make change happen face an array of vested interests and fixed ideas telling them what they want is either insane or impossible. It takes a scandal to shake things up, delegitimize the status quo, and persuade decision makers that …

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Tackling Inequality is a game changer for business and private sector development (which is why most of them are ignoring it)

Duncan Green - March 31, 2016

Oxfam’s private sector adviser Erinch Sahan is thinking through the implications of inequality for the businesses he interacts with Mention inequality to a business audience and one of two things happens. They recoil in discomfort, or reinterpret the term – as social sustainability or doing more business with people living in poverty. Same goes for the private sector development professionals in the aid community (e.g. …

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Payment by Results hasn’t produced much in the way of results, but aid donors are doing it anyway. Why?

Duncan Green - March 23, 2016

I recently attended (yet another) seminar on the future of aid, where we were all sworn to secrecy to allow everyone (academics, officials etc) to bare their bosoms with confidence. So I can’t quote anyone (even unattributed – this was ‘Chatham House plus’). But that’s OK, because I want to talk about Payment by Results, which was the subject for my 10 minutes of fame. …

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Industrial Policy meets Doing Development Differently: an evening at SOAS

Duncan Green - March 17, 2016

It’s always interesting when a neglected issue suddenly resurfaces in multiple locations. That’s been happening with industrial policy – in particular the role of governments in developing their manufacturing industries. ActionAid has a new report out, arguing that promoting manufacturing through industrial policy is essential if countries want to generate decent work and tackling inequality. Then I went to a packed SOAS event on ‘Smart …

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Time Poverty and The World’s Childcare Crisis – good new report for International Women’s Day

Duncan Green - March 8, 2016

My colleague Thalia Kidder is a feminist economist who’s been working for years to try and get the ‘care economy’ onto the development agenda. It’s been frustrating at times, but she should be celebrating right now: Oxfam’s bought in with projects that include developing a ‘rapid care analysis’ assessment tool; Melinda Gates decided to highlight Time Poverty in the Gates’ annual letter, and now for …

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‘Economics Rules’, Dani Rodrik’s love letter to his discipline

Duncan Green - December 4, 2015

Dani Rodrik has always played an intriguing role in the endless skirmishes over the economics of development. His has been a delicate balancing act, critiquing the excesses of market fundamentalism from the inside, while avoiding the more abrasive tone of out-and-out critics such as Joe Stiglitz or Ha-Joon Chang. He does sorrow; they prefer anger. His work has been hugely influential, helping to stem the …

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You’re wrong Kate. Degrowth is a compelling word

Duncan Green - December 2, 2015

Giorgos Kallis responds to yesterday’s post on degrowth by Kate Raworth, plus you get a chance to vote My friend Kate Raworth ‘cannot bring herself to use the word’ degrowth. Here are nine reasons why I use it. 1. Clear definition. ‘Degrowth’ is as clear as it gets. Definitely no less clear than ‘equality’; or ‘economic growth’ for that matter (is it growth of welfare or …

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Why Degrowth has out-grown its own name. Guest post by Kate Raworth

Duncan Green - December 1, 2015

My much-missed Exfam colleague Kate Raworth, now writing the book of her brilliant ‘Doughnut Economics’ paper and blog, returns to discuss degrowth. Tomorrow, Giorgos Kallis, the world’s leading academic on degrowth, responds. Here’s what troubles me about degrowth: I just can’t bring myself to use the word. Don’t get me wrong: I think the degrowth movement is addressing the most profound economic questions of our day. I believe …

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