Topic: Book Reviews

Delivering Development: Book Review of a study on 'globalization's shoreline'

In ‘Whose Reality Counts’, Robert Chambers caricatures a typical successful career path in development as ‘tying down, moving inwards and moving upwards’. ‘In rural development, professionals gain direct field experience only early in a career if at all’. After the year in an African village (PhD, living with the people etc), or volunteering in a […]

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INGOs in Economic Diplomacy – adapting to a new world order

One of the lectures I most enjoy giving is to the LSE course on Economic Diplomacy, (part of its International Political Economy MSc), where most years I trot along and ramble on for half an hour about International NGOs (INGOs) and advocacy. The questions and discussion that follow are invariably fascinating (for me anyway). The […]

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Poles Apart: why climate change journalism varies so much between countries

My friend James Painter has a new report out, so my colleague John Magrath has kindly reviewed it to avoid any accusations of favouritism….. Why is media coverage of climate change – and other scientific issues – so radically different in countries across the globe? And what are the social and political implications of such […]

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Will the new World Development Report transform our thinking on gender and inequality?

Some editions of the World Bank’s annual flagship World Development Report come to be seen as intellectual milestones – the WDRs on poverty (1990, 2000); equity (2005) or agriculture (2008). Others sink without trace – who remembers ‘reshaping economic geography’ (2009)? So let’s hope that the publication today of the 2012 WDR, Gender Equality and […]

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Is inequality the root cause of global crisis? The World Bank's lead research economist thinks so

Back from my week off (Edinburgh Festival – fab) with a load of holiday reading to review. Here’s the first installment – an eccentric new book by Branko Milanovic, inequality guru and lead economist at the World Bank’s research division. The Haves and the Have Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality is […]

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The Globalization Paradox, a great new book from Dani Rodrik

Dani Rodrik is one of the handful of heterodox heroes, prominent economists who took on the lazy thinking of the Washington Consensus in its prime, and continue to dance productively on its grave. His latest book, The Globalization Paradox: Why Global Markets, States and Democracy Can’t Coexist, feels like a Big Book, one that may […]

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Poor Economics – a rich new book from Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo

Just finished Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, the latest Big Book on development. Like all good books, it has its own website, full of background papers etc. It’s from the doyennes of the new focus on measurement in general and randomized control trials (RCTs) in particular, Abhijit Banerjee […]

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Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding. Review of Charles Kenny's new book

Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding—And How We Can Improve the World Even More, published this month, is an exercise in ‘framing’ – trying to shift the way we feel, as well as think, about development and aid. It does it rather well. Two big frames: 1. Lives are getting better everywhere, including in […]

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Book Review: Small Acts of Resistance

Writing a blog is a mixed blessing when it comes to freebies. You get sent some real turkeys in the shape of papers and books to review. But every now and then an unexpected treat drops into your pigeon hole. One such is ‘Small Acts of Resistance: How Courage, Tenacity and Ingenuity Can Change the […]

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Ha-Joon Chang's new book: 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

I still remember watching with delight as Ha-Joon Chang kebabed a US trade negotiator, shortly after the launch of the WTO’s Doha round of negotiations. At one of those ‘schmooze the NGOs’ sessions in Geneva, the diplomat was explaining to us the folly of governments ‘picking winners’ – industrial policy. Those who did so were […]

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New books on development: bad microfinance; climate change and war; what works; inside the World Bank; mobile activism

One of the perks of writing a blog is that I can scrounge review copies of development-related books. I’m sure they’re all fascinating and I really want to read them but alas, they don’t come with extra hours in the day attached. So I now have a growing pile by my desk that is in […]

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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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