Topic: how change happens

Giving cash to poor people and reducing inequality: lessons from Latin America

Two interesting ‘one pagers’ from the consistently excellent International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, run by the UNDP and based in Brazil. In ‘Do Conditional Cash Tranfer (CCT) Programmes Work in Low-Income Countries?’ Simone Cecchini of ECLAC takes the well-known successes of cash transfers in large middle income countries such as Brazil (Bolsa Familia) and […]

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Seizing the Moment: A Successful Campaign on Domestic Violence in Malawi

Here’s an example of successful advocacy at national level, which is becoming an increasingly important part of Oxfam’s work. In 2005, Oxfam’s Malawi programme along with its partners mounted a campaign to eliminate gender based violence which led to the passing of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill in Parliament in April 2006.  How did it […]

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‘The Politics of Climate Change’ Verdict on Anthony Giddens’ new book? Please try harder….

This is definitely the right subject – enough of ‘if I ruled the world’ policy solutions by environmental snake-oil salesmen, what are the politics of getting a breakthrough on climate change in time to stop the earth frying? Giddens’ new book even gets in a dig at his fellow LSE peer Nicholas Stern, saying ‘”Extraordinarily, […]

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Is this global crisis big enough?

This comment piece went up on the Guardian ‘Comment is Free’ site yesterday, where it attracted the standard collection of random and/or extreme comments – people seem to visit the Guardian site largely in search of catharsis, picking fights and otherwise having a good rant. Definitely makes me appreciate the civilised conversation on this blog. As […]

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The global crisis is an unavoidable moment in a technology long wave: an optimistic view from Carlota Perez

Is there a link between the current global crisis and the technological long wave that is in the process of transforming the world economy? Carlota Perez, a Venezuelan academic who specializes in the study of technological revolutions thinks there is, and laid it out at a talk at the IPPR last week (download her podcast here). […]

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How do we get the institutions right on climate change?

Normally, I find the use of scenarios to think through policy issues pretty shallow and unhelpful. But a new paper on the institutional architecture for climate change, by Alex Evans and David Steven, has a horribly plausible and thought-provoking scenario among its three possible futures. A slightly truncated version follows in a couple of paras […]

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Building women's leadership – what works?

What can an NGO like Oxfam do to help build women’s grassroots leadership and participation? Just been reading a series of case studies from around the world, which throw up a strikingly similar set of conclusions. Drawing on experiences in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the UK, the study finds that progress relies on tackling […]

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IMF 2.0 or same old, same old – has the Fund really changed its tune?

Has the G20 revived the neoliberal, austerity-wielding IMF of the 1980s and 90s, are has it ushered in a new IMF 2.0 (in the words of Time Magazine) that cares about countercyclical economic policies, public services and jobs? In late April, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Khan wrote to NGOs saying ‘I would like to make it […]

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Why equity matters more than growth: The Spirit Level

‘Growth with Equity’ is motherhood and apple pie in economic policy-making these days. But in a great new book, Spirit Level, authors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett argue that ‘economic growth, for so long the great engine of progress, has, in the rich countries, largely finished its work.’ Above a certain average income (the authors […]

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The rise of the informal sector and why it should be taxed

I’ve been reading a couple of interesting things on the informal economy recently. The OECD has a new book out with the engaging title ‘Is Informal Normal?’ which gives a pretty decent overview. Informal employment refers to jobs or activities that are not registered or protected by the state. Informal workers are excluded from social […]

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Taxation and development: a great new book

Finally finished an illuminating book on the link between taxation and development: (Taxation and state-building in Developing Countries), edited by Deborah Brautigam, Odd-Helge Fjeldstad and Mick Moore). Here are a few highlights – a bit long, but I’m trying to summarize a densely argued 260 page book, so bear with me. Taxation is the new […]

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'Moving Out of Poverty': Outstanding new mega-study from the World Bank

One of the best books I have ever read on development was ‘Crying out for Change’, a summary of a massive late 1990s study by the World Bank called ‘Voices of the Poor’. So it was a delight to pick up the summary of its new and epic successor ‘The Moving Out of Poverty Study’ […]

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