What outsiders can (and can’t) do about Syria

admin - March 2, 2012

Update: Please support Oxfam’s Syria action This guest post, by Phil Bloomer, Oxfam GB’s director of campaigns and policy, is a bit unusual for this blog. No new research or (supposedly) clever ideas. Instead, he reflects on what outsiders can (and can’t) do about the terrible situation in Syria “This morning, as on every recent morning, the news is dominated by civilians being killed in …

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How will political and economic shocks drive social change? Please help me write a paper…..

admin - March 1, 2012

Something almost unprecedented has occurred – I’ve finished an article early. Oxfam Peru is a redoubt of intellectuals and every year publishes an annual collection of essays on the state of Peru and development in general. This year they’ve asked me to focus on shocks and change, so I’ve donned my false beard and cardigan and had a go. Here is a short summary of …

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How to write winning research funding applications

admin - February 29, 2012

Recently I’ve been involved in some fascinating exercises in allocating large dollops of institutional funds for research (can’t give any more details, sorry). This has involved reviewing and discussing dozens of applications from different academics. Here’s a quick download of what I learned about the art of writing winning applications: Mixed methods rock: Quants and quals seem to have a really hard time talking to …

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How good/bad are different countries at turning carbon emissions into development?

admin - February 28, 2012

One result of the doughnut economics discussion is that we need to think much more about the carbon efficiency of development. So which countries are getting the best return on rising carbon emissions, in terms of life expectancy and per capita income? Here are two animated graphics of 13 country trajectories. The thirteen major countries comprise more than half of the world’s population and carbon …

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Madonna v Malawi; rebuilding Somalia; Rodrik loves nation states; everyone's wrong on Europe; Economist wants more taxes (in China); results agenda(s); life on hold: links I liked

admin - February 27, 2012

‘I don’t understand how she can work like that. For someone to go to the papers and say, ‘I’m building schools’, without telling the government, I find it a strange way of working.’ Madonna reinvents parallel provision and bad aid in Malawi Is it possible/desirable to try and build a nation state in Somalia? Got any better ideas? Brilliant thoughts from uber blogger Chris Blattman  …

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Hyperventilation Friday – winning 'best organizational blog 2011'

admin - February 24, 2012

I know I’ve been a bit rude about the contrived acronym of the ABBAs (Aid Blogger’s Best Awards), but I just want to say that I think it’s an incredibly rigorous and accurate reflection of opinion in the online development community. This has nothing to do with the fact that this blog just won one of the categories – best organizational blog. Here’s the commentary from …

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Getting Somalia Wrong and other background reading for today's big conference

admin - February 23, 2012

On 3 February, the UN declared that there were no longer famine conditions in southern Somalia, but six months since that famine was declared, Somalia is still in the throes of its worst humanitarian crisis in decades. Nearly a third of the population remain in crisis, unable to meet essential food and non-food needs. Key governments and institutions from the region and the wider Islamic …

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What causes bad nutrition – not enough power or not enough vitamins?

admin - February 22, 2012

As a general rule, the further The Economist magazine’s subject matter departs from economics, the better it gets, as information and analysis replace the ideological drumbeat of its market fundamentalist ‘priors’. Thanks to its coverage, vital development issues such as gendercide or resource scarcity reach a global mass audience. This week’s issue has an excellent analysis of the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood on the …

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27 countries are meeting today to try and stop Europe doing something about climate change

admin - February 21, 2012

Today there’s one of those meetings that bears out the conspiracy theorists. 27 countries, including India, China, Russia and the USA, are meeting in Moscow to discuss how to block new European climate change regulation to charge airlines for their carbon emissions on flights into and out of Europe. China has reportedly ‘banned’ its airlines from participating in the scheme. According to the Economist “As …

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