What can historical success teach us about tackling sanitation and hygiene?

Duncan Green - April 1, 2016

Ooh good, another ‘lessons of history’ research piece. Check out the excellent new WaterAid report: Achieving total sanitation and hygiene coverage within a generation – lessons from East Asia. The paper summarizes the findings of four country case studies: Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand, all of which produced ‘rapid and remarkable results in delivering total sanitation coverage in their formative stages as nation states’. …

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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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Is Decentralization Good for Development?

Duncan Green - March 30, 2016

My LSE colleague Jean-Paul Faguet has got a book out on decentralization. Here’s where he’s got to on the narrative, following multiple launch events I’ve just published a book by this name, and have spent a fair part of the last few months lecturing on it in various countries. Many people have asked me “So is decentralization good for development?” I thought I should answer: …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - March 29, 2016

Where does the world’s food grow? Good overview + maps from Brookings Institution What’s the latest economic research on Africa? David Evans with another monster instant bibliography (plus links) of the papers presented at the recent African Economics conference ‘Boaty McBoatface’ wins online competition to name new polar research ship against stiff competition from Bloody Cold Here, What Iceberg?, Captain Haddock, Big Shipinnit, Science!!! and …

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What did trade campaigns achieve? Plus reinventing Robert Chambers & changing aid narratives: some Berlin conversations

Duncan Green - March 24, 2016

Had a really interesting couple of days in Berlin last week, at the invitation of the German government aid agency, GIZ. Also spent time with the impressive policy and campaigns wonks at Oxfam Germany. Here’s a few of the topics that came up. What did all that trade campaigning achieve? From the late 90s to 2005, when I was working on economic policy for CAFOD, …

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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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If you think knowledge is expensive, try ignorance. Smart new job in Oxfam’s research team

Duncan Green - March 22, 2016

Oxfam’s new head or research Irene Guijt debuts on FP2P to urge you to come and work with her. ‘How Change Happens’ is a pretty popular topic of late on this blog, in case you hadn’t noticed. And not without reason.  In a sector that invests $140 billion per year to reduce poverty and injustices, it is not just useful  to know whether our bets …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - March 21, 2016

Europe according to Vladimir Putin [h/t Amazing Maps] The top 10 sources of data for international development research. Handy users guide The Bridge to Sodom and Gomorrah. Wonderful long read on life and struggle in an Accra slum [h/t Alex Evans] How to deal with protestors. There’s President Obama, and then (sigh) there’s Donald Trump Why do so many World Bank investments underwrite oligarchs? Hard …

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It’s international happiness day today, and there are some baffling national winners and losers

Duncan Green - March 20, 2016

It’s international happiness day today, so what better way to ruin my Sunday morning than blogging about it? The World Happiness Report has a short update to mark the day. Happiness may sound a slightly woolly concept, but actually the report is based on rigorous assessments by Gallup of life satisfaction indicators (see here for more). Some highlights: Denmark wins (again) – how annoying is …

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Does “Rational Ignorance” make working on transparency and accountability a waste of time?

Duncan Green - March 18, 2016

Guest post from Paul O’Brien, Vice President for Policy and Campaigns, Oxfam America (gosh, they do have august sounding job titles, don’t they?) As the poorest half of the planet sees that just 62 people have more wealth than all of them, collective frustration at extreme inequality is increasing.  To rebalance power and wealth, many in our community are turning to transparency, accountability, participation and …

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