Let’s Talk About Sex: why sexual satisfaction & pleasure should be on the international development agenda

Duncan Green - October 22, 2014

This guest post is by Chloe Safier (@chloelenas), Regional Gender Lead for Oxfam in Southern Africa, with thoughtful contributions from Marc Wegerif I was sitting at dinner with my Oxfam colleagues on a Sunday night, just before a country strategy meeting. Over grilled fish and cokes, I mentioned an article I’d seen recently in the Guardian that spoke to the need to talk about all aspects …

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Gallup’s global Well-Being Index. Great data, shame about the (lack of) analysis.

Duncan Green - September 19, 2014

Gallup has just published its Global Well-Being Index, based on a survey of 134,000 adults in 135 countries – i.e. a big exercise. The methodology is rigorous, presided over by Angus Deaton, who also contributes a glowing foreword. The index includes five elements of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical. Here’s what it finds for the BRICS, for example (headline message, it’s great to be Brazilian, …

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Can alternative economic indicators ever be any good if they are devised solely by experts?

Duncan Green - August 21, 2014

This guest post comes from Oxfam well-being guru Katherine Trebeck Over the last few years there has been a spate of measurement initiatives – way too many to list here. Together they represent a positive, if disparate, effort to improve the measures that we take into account when assessing the success of something – a policy, a programme, or even a country. Many of them …

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Why do some (better) alternatives to GDP get picked up, while others sink without trace? Useful new study on political economy of indicators.

admin - February 5, 2013

Took me a while to overcome my reluctance to read a document subtitled ‘Deliverable 1.1’ on the front page (yuk), but I’m glad I did so. The paper ‘Review report on Beyond GDP indicators: categorisation, intentions and impacts’ (cracking title too…..) is published by BRAINPOoL – ‘Bringing Alternative Indicators into Policy’ (is that the sound of teeth grinding?).  The authors come from Eurothinktanks CUEC (Czech …

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What can opinion polls tell us about well-being and revolution? Quite a lot, actually

admin - October 15, 2012

I’m on a plane to Delhi today, to the big OECD conference on ‘Measuring Well-Being for Development and Policy Making’. In preparation, I dropped in on the scarily smart (in both senses) young pollsters from Gallup. Fascinating, and also vaguely relevant to today’s ‘blog action day‘, on the theme of  ‘the power of we’ – few organizations are better placed than Gallup to tell us …

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How can we measure Scotland's well-being? New index from Oxfam.

admin - May 3, 2012

Really interesting project from Katherine Trebeck and colleagues in Oxfam’s UK Poverty Programme – constructing and testing a wellbeing index for Scotland. Guardian coverage here. Here’s how it works: Oxfam consulted 3,000 people across Scotland (focus groups, community workshops – see pic, street stalls, an online survey, and a YouGov poll) to establish what aspects of life make a difference to them. The consultation process produced …

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Poverty reduction v well-being: a cash transfer experiment from Malawi

admin - June 29, 2011

What difference does it make to development interventions if you worry about well-being rather than income poverty? A rather neat example has just come through from some new research by Sarah Bair, Jacobus de Hoop and Berk Özler for the World Bank Poverty and Inequality team. They looked at the impact on girls’ mental health of cash transfers in Malawi (why do so many researchers work …

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Can democracies kick the growth habit? A debate with Tim Jackson

admin - July 8, 2010

Last month I spent an enjoyable hour debating zero growth with Tim Jackson in his back garden, for a slot in the July issue of New Internationalist magazine. Tim is the UK’s first Professor of Sustainable Development (at Surrey University) and author of the excellent Prosperity Without Growth (reviewed here). We largely went over the ground covered in previous posts on his work: Total global …

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well-being v 'growth with equity': what are the pros and cons?

admin - February 11, 2010

The process of evolution takes place in three stages: random mutation, selection and replication. It’s not a bad model for how new ideas emerge within a large organization like Oxfam. Every week seems to bring a new idea swirling around in conversations and meetings (mutation). Most of those will fade away but a small percentage will get ‘traction’ (horrible management-speak word, sorry) – that’s the …

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Is Growth with Equity getting old?

admin - December 1, 2009

Growth with Equity has been one of the development industry’s overarching economic narratives for over a decade (Oxfam published ‘Economic Growth with Equity: Lessons from East Asia’ in 1998). OK, it’s better than just ‘Growth’, and where it’s been achieved, it has an unrivalled impact on poverty, but thinking has moved on in a number of areas, and G+E is starting to look distinctly threadbare. …

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