Politics

On Populism, Nationalism, Babies and Bathwater

Duncan Green - March 23, 2017

A couple of Oxfamers were over from the US recently so ODI kindly pulled together a seriously stimulating conversation about life, theuniverse and everything. More specifically, how should ‘we’ – the aid community broadly defined – respond to the rising tide of nationalism, populism, and attacks on aid. It was Chatham House rules, so I’ve already told you too much, but here are some of …

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The Power of Data: how new stats are changing our understanding of inequality

Duncan Green - March 15, 2017

Every Saturday my colleague Max Lawson, who’s Oxfam’s global inequality policy lead, sends round an email entitled ‘Some short reading for the weekend if you fancy it’. This week was particularly good, so I just lifted it: This year has already been good for the improvement in data availability on inequality, with the launch of the Wealth and Incomes Database (WID) in Paris in January. …

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What do we know about when data does/doesn’t influence policy?

Duncan Green - March 8, 2017

Josh Powell, Chief Strategy Officer at the Development Gateway weighs in on the Data and Development debate While development actors are now creating more data than ever, examples of impactful use are anecdotal and scant. Put bluntly, despite this supply-side push for more data, we are far from realizing an evidence-based utopia filled with data-driven decisions. One of the key shortcomings of our work on …

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It’s not what you know but who: How social relationships shape research impact

Duncan Green - March 6, 2017

James Georgalakis, Director of Communications and Impact at the Institute of Development Studies, introduces a new collection of pieces on knowledge for development If knowledge for development is a social process why do we continue to expect technical approaches alone, such as research methods, websites and policy briefs, to get evidence into action? While it has been easy to share significant successes of getting research into …

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WDR 2017 on Governance and Law: great content, terrible comms, and a big moral dilemma on rights and democracy

Duncan Green - March 2, 2017

Spoke yesterday at the London launch of the 2017 World Development Report on Governance and The Law. Although Stefan Kossoff did a great job in summarizing the report on this blog a few weeks ago, I thought I’d add a few thoughts from the discussion. The current debates on governance, of which the WDR is part, bear some of the hallmarks of a paradigm shift: widespread …

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How can media inspire accountability and political participation? Findings from massive BBC programme.

Duncan Green - March 1, 2017

A recurring pattern: I get invited to join a conversation with a bunch of specialists on a particular issue (eg market systems). Cue panic and some quick skim-reading of background papers, driven by the familiar fear of finally being exposed as a total fraud (some of us spend all our lives waiting for the tap on the shoulder). Then a really interesting conversation.  Relief! Last …

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How introducing electronic votes in Brazil saved lives and increased health spending by a third

Duncan Green - February 24, 2017

Just came across a paper which overcame even my scepticism about what often seems excessive hype around technology’s impact on poverty and human rights. Check out ‘Voting Technology, Political Responsiveness and Infant Health: Evidence from Brazil’ by Princeton’s Thomas Fujiwara. He has stumbled across one of those wonderful natural experiments that allow you to try and pin down the causal impact of a particular change. …

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How are different governments performing as global citizens? Time for a new index!

Duncan Green - February 23, 2017

Apologies. I get given stuff at meetings, it goes into the reading pile, and often takes months to resurface. So I have just read (and liked) a Country Global Citizenship Report Card handed to me in New York in December. It’s put together by the Global Citizens Initiative, run by Ron Israel. Time to assuage my guilt. The ‘citizens’ in question are actually 53 governments, …

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What does ‘Security’ mean? Great (and well-written) paper from IDS

Duncan Green - February 14, 2017

I have been known in the past to be a little snippy about the writing style of esteemed colleagues from the Institute of Development Studies. So in the interests of balance, I want to celebrate a beautifully written, lyrical paper by IDS’ Robin Luckham. Whose Security? Building Inclusive and Secure Societies in an Unequal and Insecure World (OK, they could have worked on the title) …

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Of Jousting Knights and Jewelled Swords: a feminist reflection on Davos

Duncan Green - February 3, 2017

Nancy Folbre is a feminist economist and professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst  What kind of an economic system delivers as much wealth to 8 men at the top as to the bottom half of the global population? It’s easier to describe shocking levels inequality than to explain them. Activist challenges to the power of the top 1%–along with demands for the …

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