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Book Review: How to Rig an Election, by Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas

Duncan Green - May 18, 2018

A lot of the power of a successful book is in its ‘big idea’ – the overall frame that endures long after the detailed arguments have faded in the memory. On that basis, ‘How to Rig an Election’ looks set to do very well indeed. The authors are both top political scientists (Cheeseman at Birmingham and Klaas at LSE) but also good writers – the …

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Which is better: a guaranteed job or a guaranteed income?

Duncan Green - May 17, 2018

Guest post from Eleanor Chowns of Bath University Martin Ravallion (former Chief Economist of the World Bank, now at CGD) published a useful paper this week asking exactly this question.  As he says, there’s no simple answer – which is why the question is so interesting. Both ‘the right to work’ and ‘the right to income’ aim to secure a more fundamental right: freedom from …

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Illicit economies, shadowy realms, and survival at the margins

Duncan Green - May 16, 2018

Guest post by Eric Gutierrez, Senior Adviser on Tackling Violence and Building Peace at Christian Aid After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, poor landless farmers in the most conflict-affected areas of southern Afghanistan started migrating in increasing numbers to the relatively more insecure rocky desert areas. With the help of loans worth a few thousand dollars (typically provided by drug traffickers), they built …

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How to decode a UN Report on Global Finance (and find an important disagreement with the World Bank on private v public)

Duncan Green - May 15, 2018

A giant coalition of UN-affiliated aid organizations (3 pages of logos!) recently published Financing for Development: Progress and Prospects 2018. These big tent reports are a nightmare to write, and not much easier to read. Anything contentious is fought over by the participants, and the result tends to be pretty bland. I’m not sure how many people read them, tbh. But on this occasion< I …

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Insurance hits peak hype in the aid & development biz – but what do we really know?

Duncan Green - May 10, 2018

Guest post from Debbie Hillier, Oxfam’s Senior Humanitarian Policy Adviser There is a lot of enthusiasm for insurance right now in a range of different sectors humanitarians are particularly excited, hoping this is a quick win to fill the aching chasm in humanitarian aid climate change experts hope it will be an easy fix for the problems of Loss and Damage and polluting countries hope …

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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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