democracy

Current aid design and evaluation favour autocracies. How do we change that?

Duncan Green - June 30, 2015

I loved the new paper from Rachel Kleinfeld, a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and asked her to write a post on it What strategy can make a government take up smart development programs, better policing techniques, or tested education initiatives?  RCT and regression-based studies have taught us a great deal about “what works”, but we still know very little about how …

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What are the links between authoritarianism, democracy and development? Magisterial (and short) new overview

Duncan Green - December 19, 2014

Sometimes, with heavy heart, I pick up yet another example of ‘grey literature’ only to find I’ve wandered into an Aladdin’s cave of ideas. That was my sensation on reading Tim Kelsall’s new paper for the Developmental Leadership Program, on ‘Authoritarianism, democracy and development’. In just 14 pages, he summarizes a huge literature, with the aim of boiling it all down into some useful advice for …

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Using aid to strengthen Parliaments: fix the car, or worry about the driver?

Duncan Green - November 24, 2014

You’d think that all the aid money trying to install functioning democracies around the world would target parliaments and political parties. In fact, they are more often an afterthought. Alina Rocha Menocal (Developmental Leadership Program, University of Birmingham) looks at the evidence and explains the neglect. People all over the world have a very low opinion of parliaments and parliamentarians. Indeed, surveys suggest that, along …

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The case for democracy – a new study on India, South Africa and Brazil (shame it’s not much good – missed opportunity)

Duncan Green - May 23, 2014

The ODI is a 10 minute train ride from my home, so I’m easily tempted out of my lair for the occasional lunchtime meeting. Last week it was the launch of ‘Democracy Works: The Democratic Alternative from the South’, a paper on the three ‘rapidly developing democracies’ of Brazil, India and South Africa, co-authored by the Legatum Institute and South Africa’s Centre for Development and …

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What’s at stake in the South African and Malawi elections this month?

Duncan Green - May 6, 2014

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Advocacy and Public Policy, reflects on impending elections in South Africa and Malawi Malawi and South Africa’s election cycle is identical.  Both had their first democratic multi-party elections 20 years ago this month.  Who can forget the incredible photos of black people queuing from before dawn across South Africa to exercise their right to vote for the first time. Malawi’s …

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W(h)ither Democracy; Latin American progress; China’s tobacco problem and poor world cancer; climate change progress: a Developmentista’s Guide to this week’s Economist

Duncan Green - March 5, 2014

Should I be worried about how much I enjoy The Economist? I get some stick from colleagues, who reckons it is surreptitiously dripping neoliberal poison into my formerly socialist soul. But it’s just so good! On a good week, there are half a dozen must-read articles on development-related issues, which I try to tweet. But based on last week’s issue, that may not be enough. …

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10 Killer Facts on Democracy and Elections

admin - July 12, 2013

Ok this is a bit weird, but I want to turn an infographic into a blogpost. The ODI, which just seems to get better and better, has just put out a 10 killer facts on elections and democracy infographic by Alina Rocha Menocal, and it’s great. Here’s a summary: Most countries today are formal democracies. An astonishing political transformation has taken place around the world over …

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What are the ingredients of democratic breakthroughs?

admin - November 27, 2012

Don’t know much/anything about the politics of the United States Institute of Peace (but handle with care – in the US, any institution with ‘peace’ or ‘freedom’ in the title is usually pretty suspect), but it has a very interesting paper out on ‘Democratic Breakthroughs: the Ingredients of Successful Revolts.’ It’s a bit reductionist, but identifies some potentially informative patterns. This from the summary: The …

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10 Challenges to 'business as usual' for development agencies: FP2P flashback

admin - August 18, 2011

OMG, nearly three years on and almost everything on this list would still be on today’s version. But at least I could point to progress, in the shape of specific bits of thinking, reseach and/or programming. on nearly all of them. What new additions would go on today’s list, I wonder? Domestic taxation; resource scarcity and planetary boundaries; the damage wrought by an excessively large …

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7 steps from autocracy to democracy

admin - March 14, 2011

From a recent speech by International Crisis Group’s deputy president Nick Grono, Alex Evans has distilled 7 very plausible lessons on how to ensure a successful transition from autocracy to democracy. 1) Reform has to happen quickly before impetus runs out – which it will, quickly. “If reforms don’t happen almost immediately, the opportunity is soon lost. Not full democratic transition of course, but enough to …

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