May 2010

User fees are bad; India's middle class; disgraced professions; a good bank; Aesop and the Euromeltdown; the Amnesty ad the FT rejected; bad news from Rwanda and mangled lyrics: links I liked

admin - May 28, 2010

Charging even very small user fees sharply limits access to preventive health care. MIT’s Poverty Action Lab summarizes the evidence and comes to an unequivocal  conclusion. Hope everyone’s listening Does India’s middle class care about poverty and inequality? SCF’s Ben Phillips is hopeful ‘I write to you from a disgraced profession’ (guess which one…..). James Galbraith‘s written statement to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee  …

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Who's better at preparing tomorrow's campaigners: LSE or Harvard?

admin - May 27, 2010

Enough about aid, let’s talk about campaigning. By pure coincidence, I’ve been spending time with a bunch of Master in Public Adminstration (MPA) students recently – fascinating, not least because of the different approaches taken by their courses. Last week, the winning team from this year’s crop at the London School of Economics came in to pitch us their idea for a campaign on reform …

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What is the future of UK development policy?

admin - May 26, 2010

Consensus on size But tensions on coherence And definition This run of posts on aid is starting to seem endless (you probably agree….). But this one, on the outlook for UK aid, is the last of the series, at least for now. From tomorrow, I’ll be getting back to the usual random scattergun stuff, but do let me know if you have any other candidate …

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Are aid workers living a lie? And does it matter?

admin - May 25, 2010

These are the questions posed by Rosalind Eyben in an intriguing new paper in the European Journal of Development Research (no ungated version, sorry). Ros, formerly of DFID and now attached to the Institute of Development Studies, knows the aid industry backwards and is struck by “the dissonance between what [aid workers] do and what they report that they do.” The aid industry as institution thinks in …

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'Just Give Money to the Poor: the Development Revolution from the Global South', an excellent overview of cash transfers

admin - May 24, 2010

Cash transfers (CTs – regular payments by the state directly to poor people) are all the rage at the moment, prompting heated debates across the development sector. As its title suggests, a new book, ‘Just Give Money to the Poor’ has no doubts about their merits. But Joseph Hanlon, Armando Barrientos (see his blog on the book here) and Hulme are academics with a long …

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Me with the IMF at the Hanoi Hilton – please add photo caption

admin - May 21, 2010

OK, the blog’s been pretty heavy going of late, so here’s some light relief, c/o the IMF, who have just sent me multiple copies of this pic from a conference back in March on the impact of the global economic crisis in low income countries (see my previous post, or the IMF page on the event with presentations). This is the IMF/Vietnamese government’s idea of …

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Why 21st Century Aid needs to be bigger AND better

admin - May 20, 2010

The arguments on aid over the last few years seem to have fallen into three camps: 1. Aid is bad (Dambisa Moyo, Bill Easterly) 2. Aid is great (Jeff Sachs, various aid donors, and to some extent, Oxfam and other NGOs) 3. Hey, I’ve just had this great idea for making aid much better (CGD, Owen Barder, Paul Collier) The first two focus almost exclusively …

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Should we get paid?; the eye of the beholder; Unesco loses it; Hillary gets it; 0.7 v 2.4 and London Citizen on youtube: links I liked

admin - May 19, 2010

Owen Barder considers the contradictions of being (relatively well) paid to work on poverty Malawi based aid worker Duncan McNicholl subverts the aid agency and media stereotypes by taking photos of people he meets in two different poses ‘miserable victim asking for help’ and ‘sharp geezer on the mobile’. Lovely idea. [h/t Laura Freschi]. Here’s one example – Edward Kabzela – Chagunda Village, Malawi The …

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Cash on Delivery – worth a try?

admin - May 18, 2010

You’ve got to hand it to the policy entrepreneurs at the Center for Global Development – they sure know how to get new ideas onto the tables and into the minds of decision makers. One of their biggest and most interesting new(ish) ideas is ‘Cash on Delivery’ (CoD), and I’ve just been reading their new book on it. The concept’s been around for a while, …

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