Want to help write this year's Human Development Report?

2010 marks two decades years since the first Human Development Report was published by the UN Development Program in 1990. Besides subsequently spawning huge numbers of useful national and thematic reports, the global HDRs have become some of the most influential of annual development analyses, for many years providing an invaluable intellectual counterweight to some […]

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What can be done to improve the lives of migrant construction workers?

What can be done to improve the wages and conditions of the millions of migrant workers who flock to the Gulf States from South Asia? I recently had a fascinating discussion with a UK construction entrepreneur working in the Gulf States on this.   According to the construction guy, there are now nearly $2 trillion […]

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Europe v America; Cheesy songs; planners v searchers; war in Southern Sudan; torturing English and the Gazprom song: links I liked

‘what European experience actually demonstrates is that social justice and progress can go hand in hand’ Paul Krugman hits back at one of the US health reform critics’ key arguments: that a welfare state undermines economic dynamism. Cheesy idea and corny song , but people from 156 countries simultaneously singing ‘love is all you need’ to […]

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Hillary Clinton on development: aid, agriculture, health and women

Hillary Clinton gave a big speech at the CGD development thinktank on Wednesday. Here are some of the things that jumped out for me: Strategic importance of development policy: ‘Development was once the province of humanitarians, charities, and governments looking to gain allies in global struggles. Today it is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative […]

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How can tax reform build effective states?

Taxation is one of those issues that usually causes the eyes of development types to glaze over. At best it’s relegated to the ‘important but braindeath’ category. When we do talk about tax, it’s often just as a way to raise money for schools and hospitals (if aid isn’t enough to do the job, that […]

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Can we improve aid through evolution rather than planning?

Finally got round to reading ‘Beyond Planning’ Owen Barder’s CGD paper on aid reform. Owen’s a former DFID bigwig turned Ethiopia-based consultant and blogger. Here he writes like a true economist, which can be pretty heavy going, but the paper is worth persevering with. He can also write like a human being, for example in […]

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Aid Satire; Berlusconi's horrible year; migration in the recession; Bono does climate change (but the US media doesn't): links I liked

Satire wars anyone? A flurry of New Year spoofs – what does that say about the next 12 months (or the effect of Christmas with the family) I wonder? Bill Easterly goes for the bludgeon rather than the rapier with ‘How to Write About Poor People’ Owen Barder sets out the arguments we will inevitably […]

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Using mobile phones to combat medicine shortages in Africa

Most of the coverage (and hype) around mobile phones and development is based on their potential to improve access to markets for small farmers, especially those in remote areas and to provide easy ways to transfer small amounts of money in the absence of functioning bank networks. But mobiles, which are rapidly becoming ubiquitous in […]

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