Topic: Economics

What future for peasant communities in the North? A holiday report

Back from a week’s holiday and a ‘South in the North’ experience attending a wedding in Lewis in the Outer Hebrides (go to the top of Scotland, and turn left). My father-in-law comes from there, and his family still run a croft – a smallholding with a few sheep and cattle in one of Britain’s […]

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Can democracies kick the growth habit? A debate with Tim Jackson

Last month I spent an enjoyable hour debating zero growth with Tim Jackson in his back garden, for a slot in the July issue of New Internationalist magazine. Tim is the UK’s first Professor of Sustainable Development (at Surrey University) and author of the excellent Prosperity Without Growth (reviewed here). We largely went over the […]

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Guest blog: World Bank chief economist replies on his industrial policy proposals

Last week I wrote about Justin Lin’s intriguing suggestions for how developing countries can best pursue a low risk/high return form of industrial upgrading. Here Justin responds to some of the concerns and questions raised in that post: “I am grateful to Duncan Green for his comments on my recent paper “Growth Identification and Facilitation”, […]

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A surprising World Bank recipe for industrial policy: new proposal from Justin Lin

Justin Lin, the World Bank’s chief economist, was in London last week and presented his new paper on ‘Growth Identification and Facilitation’. Two years ago he came through just after being appointed, promising to bring a ‘new perspective’ to the Bank (see post here). His new paper certainly does that, as its subtitle ‘the role of […]

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The Plundered Planet: review of Paul Collier's new book and impending personal crisis

A new Paul Collier book is always a good workout in the brain gym and his latest, The Plundered Planet: How to Reconcile Prosperity with Nature, is no exception. You can either be seduced by his writing, conceptual acrobatics, anecdotes and soundbites (who isn’t sick of hearing ‘Bottom Billion’ in every seminar?) or you can […]

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How important is growth to improvements in health and education? Not at all, says a new UN paper

The first batch of background papers to this year’s big Human Development Report has just been published. The one that caught my eye is by George Gray Molina and Mark Purser. “Human Development Trends since 1970: A Social Convergence Story” crunches a big dataset of Human Development Indicator (HDI) numbers and comes up with some […]

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What can we learn from Chinese aid?

I’m at a two day EU conference ‘Development in times of crisis and Achieving the MDGs’ (snappy eh?). It’s in Madrid, but you wouldn’t know it. We’re in an airless, windowless room in an aircraft hangar of a conference centre miles out from the city. I was on a panel on the impact of the […]

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Who runs the world? The rise of the G5

The G5 countries will police each other and everyone else A thought-provoking and perversely optimistic take on 21st Century geopolitics from Paul Collier in this month’s issue of Prospect. It’s too well-written to edit, but in short, what he is saying is that the world will be run by the US, China, Japan, India and the […]

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Four big trends that advocacy NGOs need to watch

It’s obviously that strategic planning time of year again. Owen Barder recently posted his top tips for up and coming megatrends that should shape thinking in advocacy NGOs and last week I spent a self-indulgent morning doing my crystal ball thing with Traidcraft, an excellent UK NGO currently immersed in some long-term navel-gazing, (sorry I […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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