Tag: Aid

Aid must change in order to tackle inequality: the OECD responds to Angus Deaton

Guest post from Jon Lomøy, Director of the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD) Official development assistance – or aid – is under fire. In The Great Escape, Angus Deaton argues that, “far from being a prescription for eliminating poverty, the aid illusion is actually an obstacle to improving the lives of the poor.” Yet used properly, […]

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Angus Deaton makes the case against aid (and you get to vote)

I am grateful to Duncan Green for giving me an opportunity to respond to his comments on The Great Escape. I summarize the key evidence, and try to give a coherent story of how I think aid works, and when it will fail. Like Duncan, I fully recognize (and am motivated by) the moral imperative […]

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Will this week’s aid and development gabfest in Mexico be just another boring conference or a milestone in ensuring development works for the poor?

It’s aid week here on the blog. To kick off, Oxfam policy adviser Nicola McIvor sets the scene for a big international conference in Mexico. Tomorrow and Wednesday, Angus Deaton and I have an argument about whether aid helps or harms development. Who knows, you may even get to vote. The development world is at […]

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“Parlez-vous politics?” Or why working politically is like learning a language

Alina Rocha Menocal of the ODI introduces her new paper The world of development assistance has come a long way since James Ferguson published his searing critique of the aid establishment in The Anti-Politics Machine: ‘Development,’ Depoliticization and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho in 1994. The (gradual) evolution that different international development actors have undergone to […]

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The Great Escape, Angus Deaton’s big new book: Brilliant on inequality and politics, but wrong on aid

Ricardo Fuentes (@rivefuentes) reviews The Great Escape, Angus Deaton’s big (and controversial) new book on development. A long time ago, while finishing my college degree at CIDE in Mexico, I started working with the different editions of the Mexican Household Income and Expenditure Survey. I was assisting my then boss and mentor, Alejandro Villagomez, in […]

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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 […]

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The Aid trilemma: are complexity, scale and measurability mutually incompatible?

I’ve been reflecting on Owen Barder’s recent post on the tensions for aid agencies between wanting to go to scale, and acknowledging that lasting development solutions have to emerge from discussions among local actors, based on local context. Seems to me we have something of an aid trilemma here – I would add in attribution […]

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Is the British development bubble a good thing? Reflections after another session at DFID.

To be an aid  and development wonk based in London is to inhabit a very unrepresentative bubble. Beyond these shores, Australia has followed Canada in downgrading aid by absorbing it back into the foreign ministry, and subordinating aid policy more explicitly to national self interest. In Europe, most governments are cutting their aid budgets as […]

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Is ‘The Field’ an outdated and reactionary concept?

Advance warning – this blog is going dark for a couple of days to allow the cyberelves to give it a makeover. Back on Wednesday. Ex Tales from the Hood blogger ‘J’ has an enjoyable tirade on the Why Dev blog against the use of the phrase ‘The Field’ in aidland – (as in ‘I’m […]

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DfID gets a red light on aid for trade: how will it respond?

Oxfam aid wonk Nicola McIvor explores a highly critical report on one of DfID’s flagship programmes The problem with being committed to independent evaluation and transparency is that you risk being beaten up in public when things go wrong. Oxfam is accustomed to having our own evaluations quoted against us, which is exactly what happened […]

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Poor countries are losing $1 trillion a year to illicit capital flows – 7 times the volume of aid

I was surprised not to see more coverage of last week’s hard-hitting report from the Global Financial Integrity watchdog. Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002-2011 has a whole bunch of killer facts about the escalating haemorrhage of wealth from poor countries. Here are some highlights. My additions in square brackets/italics: “We estimate that illicit […]

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Thinking and Working Politically: an exciting new aid initiative

Gosh I love my job. Last week I attended a workshop in Delhi to discuss ‘thinking and working politically’. A bunch of donors, academics, NGOs and others (Chatham House rules, alas, so no names or institutions) taking stock on how they can move from talk to walk in applying more politically informed thinking to their […]

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