Month: February 2014

What do White House Policy Makers want from Researchers? Important survey findings.

Interesting survey of US policymakers in December’s International Studies Quarterly journal. I’m not linking to it because it’s gated, thereby excluding more or less everyone outside a traditional academic institution (open data anyone?) but here’s a draft of What Do Policymakers Want From Us?, by Paul Avey and Michael Desch. The results are as relevant to…

By Duncan Green February 28, 2014 4

How is India’s iconic NREGA social protection scheme doing? Interesting research from Tamil Nadu.

Some social programmes act as honey pots for busy bee researchers. A few years ago Brazil’s Bolsa Familia was the subject of choice, but it seems to have been overtaken by India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) which has researchers all over it. A Global Insights paper from the University of Sussex…

By Duncan Green February 27, 2014 2

What Makes Big Corporations Decide to Get on the Right Side of History?

For the past year, Oxfam’s Erinch Sahan (right) has been working on the ‘Behind the Brands’ campaign. Here he reflects on some successes and lessons from his time in the advocacy trenches. On 19 May 1997, the CEO of BP, John Browne, made a speech at Stanford University. Browne: “We must now focus on what can…

By Duncan Green February 26, 2014 5

How to fix fragile states? The OECD reckons it’s all down to tax systems.

‘Over-generous tax exemptions awarded to multinational enterprises often deprive fragile states of potential revenues that could be used to fund their most pressing needs.’ Another broadside from rent-a-mob? Nope, it’s the ultra respectable OECD in its Fragile States 2014 report. After years of growth, aid to fragile states started to fall in 2011, so the…

By Duncan Green February 25, 2014 6

World Protests 2006-13: Where? How big? About what? Did they achieve anything?

Following on from last week’s food riots post, some wider context. The news is full of protests (Kiev, Caracas, Cairo), but to what extent is it really ‘all kicking off everywhere’ as Paul Mason claims? Just come across a pretty crude, but thought-provoking paper that tries to find out. For World Protests 2006-13, Isabel Ortiz, Sara…

By Duncan Green February 24, 2014 3

How should INGOs prepare for the coming disruption? Reading the aid/development horizon scans (so that you don’t have to)

Gosh, INGOs do find themselves fascinating. Into my inbox plop regular exercises in deep navel-gazing –both excessively self-regarding and probably necessary. They follow a pretty standard formula: Everything is changing. Mobile phones! Rise of China! Everything is speeding up. Instant feedback! Fickle consumers! Shrinking product cycles! You, in contrast are excruciatingly slow, bureaucratic and out…

By Duncan Green February 21, 2014 5

What do we know about food riots and their link to food rights? Some interesting new findings from IDS

Went off to a rain-drenched Institute of Development Studies last week for one of those great workshops where a group of country researchers come together with case studies on a similar issue and then swap ideas on what general conclusions are emerging. The topic was the rash of food riots that struck 30+ countries in…

By Duncan Green February 20, 2014 11

Somaliland v Somalia: great new paper on an extraordinary ‘natural experiment’ in aid and governance

Could someone please clone Sarah Phillips? The University of Sydney political scientist has a great new Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) paper out on Somaliland, following her excellent paper a few years ago on Yemen. Political Settlements and State Formation: The Case of Somaliland may not sound like much of a page turner, but it is…

By Duncan Green February 19, 2014 25

Government to Government trade – a new development issue, but is it threat or opportunity?

I have a love-hate relationship with The Economist – hate its lazy, evidence-free, anti-state, privatizing ‘priors’, but love the range of thought-provoking new angles, and its coverage of development. In general, the further it gets from economics, the more I like it. Usually I just tweet links to the good stuff, but last week’s piece…

By Duncan Green February 17, 2014 2