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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Industrial Policy meets Doing Development Differently: an evening at SOAS

Duncan Green - March 17, 2016

It’s always interesting when a neglected issue suddenly resurfaces in multiple locations. That’s been happening with industrial policy – in particular the role of governments in developing their manufacturing industries. ActionAid has a new report out, arguing that promoting manufacturing through industrial policy is essential if countries want to generate decent work and tackling inequality. Then I went to a packed SOAS event on ‘Smart …

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Which of these three books on complexity and development is right for you? Review/user’s guide

Duncan Green - March 16, 2016

Dave Algoso (@dalgoso ) with a handy guide to what to read for those wondering what all this complexity stuff is about In the last few years, complexity thinking has found its way into general development discourse. Anyone reading this blog or others has likely encountered some of the terminology, even if the technical pieces remain elusive to you. Ready to go deeper than the blogs? …

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Why everyone should have an RSS feed for daily news (and should help me replace the one I just deleted by accident)

Duncan Green - March 15, 2016

Well that’ll teach me. I was just trying to write a post about my RSS feed and I’ve managed to delete the lot. No idea how. Can you help me reassemble/improve on my daily reading list? The background: chatting to colleagues at Oxfam, I’m always surprised how few of them use RSS software (which apparently stands for ‘Real Simple Syndication’) to keep abreast of their …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - March 14, 2016

Bureaucratics – great photo series of officials behind desks around the world. [h/t Chris Blattman] Some wise advice from DFID reformer Pete Vowles for anyone pursuing change in large organizations A top job in the Oxfam GB research team: Senior Researcher on Influencing and its Effectiveness (4 April deadline) World Bank sets up nudge unit – the Global Insights Initiative (Gini). It will run experiments on …

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Why we need to rethink how we measure inequality – please welcome the Absolute Palma index

Duncan Green - March 11, 2016

Oxfam’s Nick Galasso (left) and ODI’s Chris Hoy (right), author of a new paper on the topic, argue for a rethink on inequality metrics The world is abuzz about inequality Pope Francis famously tweeted that inequality is the root of evil. As we witnessed in Davos in January, the media can’t get enough of Oxfam’s statistic that the richest 85, 80, 62 people have the same wealth …

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Book Review: What can Activists learn from the AIDS Drugs Movement?

Duncan Green - March 10, 2016

Still catching up with reviews from my holiday reading – Alex de Waal’s new book (already reviewed) and AIDS Drugs for All, which came highly recommended. (I also read and enjoyed Marlon James and Elena Ferrante – I’m not completely sad/obsessive, honest.) AIDS Drugs for All is a forensic account of ‘a heroic effort on the part of social activists, policy entrepreneurs and sympathetic corporate …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - March 9, 2016

Bit of a delay this week, but here’s last week’s pick of the interwebs In the class riddled UK, even the pop stars are disproportionately privately educated DFID’s Pete Vowles has some useful advice for anyone pursuing change in large organizations Following last year’s World Development Report on behavioural economics, the World Bank sets up a ‘nudge unit’. The Global Insights Initiative (Gini) will run …

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Time Poverty and The World’s Childcare Crisis – good new report for International Women’s Day

Duncan Green - March 8, 2016

My colleague Thalia Kidder is a feminist economist who’s been working for years to try and get the ‘care economy’ onto the development agenda. It’s been frustrating at times, but she should be celebrating right now: Oxfam’s bought in with projects that include developing a ‘rapid care analysis’ assessment tool; Melinda Gates decided to highlight Time Poverty in the Gates’ annual letter, and now for …

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