Book Review: How to Rig an Election, by Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas

Duncan Green - May 18, 2018

A lot of the power of a successful book is in its ‘big idea’ – the overall frame that endures long after the detailed arguments have faded in the memory. On that basis, ‘How to Rig an Election’ looks set to do very well indeed. The authors are both top political scientists (Cheeseman at Birmingham and Klaas at LSE) but also good writers – the …

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Why election politics don’t work as well for the environment as they do for international development

Duncan Green - May 11, 2017

Guest post from Matthew Spencer, who crossed over from the environment sector recently to become Oxfam’s Director of Campaigns and Policy  Before the end of the first week of the UK election campaign, to widespread surprise, Theresa May agreed to the development sector’s main demand to maintain our 0.7% overseas aid commitment. In contrast, the following week the government had to be forced to publish …

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This Sunday, Brazilians decide between two progressive women presidents. How do they compare?

Duncan Green - October 2, 2014

Oxfam’s  country director, Simon Ticehurst (right), fills in the background ahead of this weekend’s election Some colleagues asked me this week, what is going to happen in the elections and who should I vote for? First up, prediction is not my forte. Last year in June I sent an optimistic briefing on Brazil to Oxfam´s CEO, saying that poverty was coming down, inequality was coming …

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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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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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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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Some things governments can do to support development even without spending more money

admin - February 2, 2010

Before any general election, anyone involved in advocacy indulges in ‘what would my dream manifesto look like?’ fantasies. (And then usually goes off to lobby the political parties and be told why their ideas are silly). 2010 is no exception, with the impending (probably 6 May) UK general election followed by decisive moments this year on climate change (in Mexico in December), on the millennium development …

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Cleaning up Dirty Elections – what works?

admin - October 15, 2009

The Centre for the Study of African Economies in Oxford (home to Paul Collier, among others) is putting out some fascinating two pagers on its work, including two recent papers on ‘dirty elections’. In ‘Cleaning up Dirty Elections’ Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler go to work  on a new data set spanning nearly 30 years and 155 countries (suggesting that the CSAE is expanding its …

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