Tag: democracy

Book Review: How to Rig an Election, by Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas

A lot of the power of a successful book is in its ‘big idea’ – the overall frame that endures long after the detailed arguments have faded in the memory. On that basis, ‘How to Rig an Election’ looks set to do very well indeed. The authors are both top political scientists (Cheeseman at Birmingham […]

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What are the politics of our survival as a species? Introducing the Climate Change Trilemma

So a physicist, an anthropologist, and two political economists have lunch in the LSE canteen and start arguing about climate change….. I was (very notionally) the physicist; my other lunchtime companions were Robert Wade, Teddy Brett and Jason Hickel (the anthropologist). Jason was arguing for degrowth and reminded me of the excellent debate on this […]

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Current aid design and evaluation favour autocracies. How do we change that?

I loved the new paper from Rachel Kleinfeld, a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and asked her to write a post on it What strategy can make a government take up smart development programs, better policing techniques, or tested education initiatives?  RCT and regression-based studies have taught us a great deal about […]

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What are the links between authoritarianism, democracy and development? Magisterial (and short) new overview

Sometimes, with heavy heart, I pick up yet another example of ‘grey literature’ only to find I’ve wandered into an Aladdin’s cave of ideas. That was my sensation on reading Tim Kelsall’s new paper for the Developmental Leadership Program, on ‘Authoritarianism, democracy and development’. In just 14 pages, he summarizes a huge literature, with the aim […]

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Using aid to strengthen Parliaments: fix the car, or worry about the driver?

You’d think that all the aid money trying to install functioning democracies around the world would target parliaments and political parties. In fact, they are more often an afterthought. Alina Rocha Menocal (Developmental Leadership Program, University of Birmingham) looks at the evidence and explains the neglect. People all over the world have a very low […]

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The case for democracy – a new study on India, South Africa and Brazil (shame it’s not much good – missed opportunity)

The ODI is a 10 minute train ride from my home, so I’m easily tempted out of my lair for the occasional lunchtime meeting. Last week it was the launch of ‘Democracy Works: The Democratic Alternative from the South’, a paper on the three ‘rapidly developing democracies’ of Brazil, India and South Africa, co-authored by […]

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What’s at stake in the South African and Malawi elections this month?

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Advocacy and Public Policy, reflects on impending elections in South Africa and Malawi Malawi and South Africa’s election cycle is identical.  Both had their first democratic multi-party elections 20 years ago this month.  Who can forget the incredible photos of black people queuing from before dawn across South Africa to […]

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W(h)ither Democracy; Latin American progress; China’s tobacco problem and poor world cancer; climate change progress: a Developmentista’s Guide to this week’s Economist

Should I be worried about how much I enjoy The Economist? I get some stick from colleagues, who reckons it is surreptitiously dripping neoliberal poison into my formerly socialist soul. But it’s just so good! On a good week, there are half a dozen must-read articles on development-related issues, which I try to tweet. But […]

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10 Killer Facts on Democracy and Elections

Ok this is a bit weird, but I want to turn an infographic into a blogpost. The ODI, which just seems to get better and better, has just put out a 10 killer facts on elections and democracy infographic by Alina Rocha Menocal, and it’s great. Here’s a summary: Most countries today are formal democracies. An […]

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What are the ingredients of democratic breakthroughs?

Don’t know much/anything about the politics of the United States Institute of Peace (but handle with care – in the US, any institution with ‘peace’ or ‘freedom’ in the title is usually pretty suspect), but it has a very interesting paper out on ‘Democratic Breakthroughs: the Ingredients of Successful Revolts.’ It’s a bit reductionist, but […]

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10 Challenges to 'business as usual' for development agencies: FP2P flashback

OMG, nearly three years on and almost everything on this list would still be on today’s version. But at least I could point to progress, in the shape of specific bits of thinking, reseach and/or programming. on nearly all of them. What new additions would go on today’s list, I wonder? Domestic taxation; resource scarcity […]

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7 steps from autocracy to democracy

From a recent speech by International Crisis Group’s deputy president Nick Grono, Alex Evans has distilled 7 very plausible lessons on how to ensure a successful transition from autocracy to democracy. 1) Reform has to happen quickly before impetus runs out – which it will, quickly. “If reforms don’t happen almost immediately, the opportunity is soon […]

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