Poverty

Book Review: The Economics of Poverty by Martin Ravallion

Duncan Green - May 5, 2016

Oxfam inequality number cruncher Deborah Hardoon reviews The Economics of Poverty by Martin Ravallion.  It’s hard to think of a better placed individual than Martin Ravallion to have written this book. Not only has he spent over 30 years working on poverty, including 24 years at the World Bank, but in 1990 it was Martin Ravallion who, during dinner with his wife had an ‘epiphany …

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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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Some fascinating new research on how food prices affect people’s lives and politics

Duncan Green - April 5, 2016

One of the projects I was proudest of getting off the ground while in (nominal) charge of Oxfam’s research team was ‘Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility’, a four year study of the impact of the chaotic food prices of recent years on the lives of poor people and communities in rural and urban communities in ten countries. DFID funded it (thanks!), and …

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From Sweatshops to Switzerland, the women in Myanmar behind the billionaires’ fortunes

Duncan Green - March 4, 2016

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Global Campaigns reflects on a recent visit The young garment factory workers share a tiny room in a wooden shack, spotlessly clean, with pictures of Myanmar pop stars beside a photo of their parents back in the village. But there is no escaping the smell of the open drain outside. The three sisters and their cousin all work in factories …

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How on earth can you measure resilience? A wonk Q&A

Duncan Green - December 15, 2015

Resilience is one of today’s omnipresent development fuzzwords, applied to individuals, communities, businesses, countries, ideas and just about everything else. But how can it best be measured? To plug their new paper on the topic, Oxfam’s measurement wonks Jonathan Lain (left) and Rob Fuller (right) argue with their imaginary non-wonk friend…… So they’ve let the beancounters loose on resilience now. Do we really have to …

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How assets + training can transform the lives of ultra-poor women: new evidence from Bangladesh

Duncan Green - December 9, 2015

People are often very rude about ‘big push’ approaches to development – the idea that you can kickstart a country (or a millennium village) by simultaneously shoving in piles of different projects, technical assistance and cash. The approach hasn’t got a great track record, but now a kind of micro Big Push, targeting the ‘ultra poor’ in a range of countries, is showing some really …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - November 9, 2015

Powerful, harrowing photo essay of Syrian refugee children asleep. Suffragettes v suffragists. Nice movie, shame about the (lack of) theory of change – it was really the suffragists wot won it Oxfam America takes on Big Chicken in the US, using leader/laggard tactics to push for a better deal for 250,000 workers and getting some very quick wins Remember all that guff about the state …

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Is China’s rise relevant to today’s poorest states?

Duncan Green - November 5, 2015

Am I allowed to say that a meeting held under Chatham House Rules took place at Chatham House? Let’s risk it. I recently attended a fascinating conference on UK-China relations, which discussed the two governments’ burgeoning cooperation on development issues. This seems to be turning into a triangular relationship, in which the UK and China combine brains, money and experience to jointly support other countries’ …

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A nice example of how government-to-government peer pressure can lead to innovation

Duncan Green - October 29, 2015

Guest post from John Hammock of the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative In your thought-provoking blog ‘Hello SDGs, what’s your theory of change?’ you rightly identify peer pressure as a potentially very effective means of governments coming to internalise the SDGs in their domestic processes and influencing others to follow suit. Let me give an instructive case study based on our experience at OPHI. …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - October 26, 2015

Top geek cartoonist XKCD supports World Polio Day, while managing to satirise innovation fetishists On the other hand, for all the tech sceptics out there, here’s the price of light over the last 700 years, from Max Roser Where to go for reliable gender stats, including that 2/3 of the world’s illiterate adults are women: the UN’s new The World’s Women 2015: Trends and Statistics …

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