What are the politics of reducing carnage on the world’s roads? Great new paper from ODI

Duncan Green - May 25, 2018

There’s a form of casual violence that kills 1.25 million people a year (3 times more than malaria) and injures up to 50 million more. 90% of the deaths are of poor people (usually men) in poor countries. No guns are involved and there’s lots of things governments can do to fix it. But you’ll hardly ever read about it in the development literature, although …

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Gender, disability and displacement: Reflections from research on Syrian refugees in Jordan

Duncan Green - May 24, 2018

This guest post is by Bushra Rehman (right), a Research Officer with the Humanitarian Academy for Development, which is the research and training arm of Islamic Relief Worldwide. The post is based on her prize-winning Masters dissertation. It is mid-afternoon in Jordan and the weather is stiflingly hot. I arrive at a derelict building in Irbid, a city located 20 km south of the Syrian border, …

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5 Lessons from Working with Businesses to Support Workers around the World

Duncan Green - May 23, 2018

This piece appeared on ETI’s May ‘Leadership Series’ blog yesterday I was present at the birth of ETI 20 years ago. Recently installed at the Catholic aid agency, CAFOD, I was sent off to discuss an obscure initiative to set up a ‘Monitoring and Verification Working Group’ for companies trying to assess labour standards in their supply chains. I was impressed to find a lot of …

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Can ‘Doing Development Differently’ only succeed if aid donors stay away from it?

Duncan Green - May 22, 2018

Another day, another seminar on Adaptive Management/Doing Development Differently/Thinking and Working Politically (let’s save words by just calling the whole thing DDD). This one was held under the Chatham House Rule, so no names or institutions. There was an interesting mix of academics and contractors – private companies who increasingly run the big contracts for DFID and other donors, and a few lightbulb moments in …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - May 21, 2018

The 7 deadly sins – online version ht Sony Kapoor. Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why. There are 7 universal moral rules: love your family, help your group, return favours, be brave, defer to authority, be fair, respect others’ property. These are the same across all cultures, according to an analysis of ethics from 60 societies (600,000 words …

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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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Which is better: a guaranteed job or a guaranteed income?

Duncan Green - May 17, 2018

Guest post from Eleanor Chowns of Bath University Martin Ravallion (former Chief Economist of the World Bank, now at CGD) published a useful paper this week asking exactly this question.  As he says, there’s no simple answer – which is why the question is so interesting. Both ‘the right to work’ and ‘the right to income’ aim to secure a more fundamental right: freedom from …

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Illicit economies, shadowy realms, and survival at the margins

Duncan Green - May 16, 2018

Guest post by Eric Gutierrez, Senior Adviser on Tackling Violence and Building Peace at Christian Aid After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, poor landless farmers in the most conflict-affected areas of southern Afghanistan started migrating in increasing numbers to the relatively more insecure rocky desert areas. With the help of loans worth a few thousand dollars (typically provided by drug traffickers), they built …

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How to decode a UN Report on Global Finance (and find an important disagreement with the World Bank on private v public)

Duncan Green - May 15, 2018

A giant coalition of UN-affiliated aid organizations (3 pages of logos!) recently published Financing for Development: Progress and Prospects 2018. These big tent reports are a nightmare to write, and not much easier to read. Anything contentious is fought over by the participants, and the result tends to be pretty bland. I’m not sure how many people read them, tbh. But on this occasion< I …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - May 14, 2018

If someone ever criticises your tidiness, show them this, the New York Review of Books office. Ht Padraig Belton States are Far Less Likely to Engage in Mass Violence Against Nonviolent Uprisings than Violent Uprisings How Costa Rica Gets It Right by Joseph E. Stiglitz Nice piece on ideas for avoiding boring time-suck meetings. My favourite suggestion, everyone in an organization should have a capped …

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