Topic: Economics

The Global Beneficial Ownership Register: a new approach to fighting corruption by combining political advocacy with technology

A second post on corruption ahead of tomorrow’s summit. Activists are often more concerned with how they see the world than with understanding how others see it, but understanding what motivates and incentivises others is crucial to building coalitions for change. Transparency campaigner David McNair describes one such example, a wonky-but-important demand for a Global […]

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Here’s a summary of The Economist’s important critique of GDP and suggestions for reform

‘Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made’ said Otto von Bismarck. Turns out you can probably add GDP to that list. Last week’s Economist had a comprehensive takedown of the uses and abuses of Gross Domestic Product as an indicator of wellbeing, economic health or pretty much anything else. […]

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Book Review: The Economics of Poverty by Martin Ravallion

Oxfam inequality number cruncher Deborah Hardoon reviews The Economics of Poverty by Martin Ravallion.  It’s hard to think of a better placed individual than Martin Ravallion to have written this book. Not only has he spent over 30 years working on poverty, including 24 years at the World Bank, but in 1990 it was Martin […]

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Book Review: Rich People, Poor Countries – the evolution of the South’s plutocrats

Another addition to the inequality library. Rich People, Poor Countries has a less ambitious sweep than Piketty, Deaton or Milanovic’s grand narratives. Author Caroline Freund does some very revealing number crunching on the changing face of the annual Forbes billionaires list to explore ‘the rise of emerging-market tycoons and their mega firms’, in the words […]

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The income of the world’s poor is going up, but they’re $1 trillion poorer. What’s going on?

Oxfam number cruncher Deborah Hardoon tries to get her head round something weird – according to the stats, the poorest half of the people are getting poorer even though their incomes are rising. It has become something of a tradition that in January every year we take a look at the Forbes list of billionaires […]

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Book Review: Branko Milanovic’s brilliant take on Global Inequality

Some of my favourite development economists are nomads, people with feet in different regions, which seems to make them better able to identify interesting patterns and similarities/differences between countries. Ha-Joon Chang (Korea/UK), Dani Rodrik (Turkey/US) and now Branko Milanovic (Serbia/US), whose latest book Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization is a […]

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How do we make sure the Panama Papers lead to lasting reforms on tax evasion?

Scandals like the Panama Papers are a massive potential driver of policy change. In normal times, the sources of inertia are great and politicians wishing to make change happen face an array of vested interests and fixed ideas telling them what they want is either insane or impossible. It takes a scandal to shake things […]

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Tackling Inequality is a game changer for business and private sector development (which is why most of them are ignoring it)

Oxfam’s private sector adviser Erinch Sahan is thinking through the implications of inequality for the businesses he interacts with Mention inequality to a business audience and one of two things happens. They recoil in discomfort, or reinterpret the term – as social sustainability or doing more business with people living in poverty. Same goes for […]

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Payment by Results hasn’t produced much in the way of results, but aid donors are doing it anyway. Why?

I recently attended (yet another) seminar on the future of aid, where we were all sworn to secrecy to allow everyone (academics, officials etc) to bare their bosoms with confidence. So I can’t quote anyone (even unattributed – this was ‘Chatham House plus’). But that’s OK, because I want to talk about Payment by Results, […]

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Industrial Policy meets Doing Development Differently: an evening at SOAS

It’s always interesting when a neglected issue suddenly resurfaces in multiple locations. That’s been happening with industrial policy – in particular the role of governments in developing their manufacturing industries. ActionAid has a new report out, arguing that promoting manufacturing through industrial policy is essential if countries want to generate decent work and tackling inequality. […]

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Time Poverty and The World’s Childcare Crisis – good new report for International Women’s Day

My colleague Thalia Kidder is a feminist economist who’s been working for years to try and get the ‘care economy’ onto the development agenda. It’s been frustrating at times, but she should be celebrating right now: Oxfam’s bought in with projects that include developing a ‘rapid care analysis’ assessment tool; Melinda Gates decided to highlight […]

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‘Economics Rules’, Dani Rodrik’s love letter to his discipline

Dani Rodrik has always played an intriguing role in the endless skirmishes over the economics of development. His has been a delicate balancing act, critiquing the excesses of market fundamentalism from the inside, while avoiding the more abrasive tone of out-and-out critics such as Joe Stiglitz or Ha-Joon Chang. He does sorrow; they prefer anger. […]

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