Tag: Poverty

Provocations for Development: Superb new collection of Robert Chambers’ Greatest Hits

This is not an impartial review – Robert Chambers is a hero of  mine, part development guru, part therapist to the aid community. His ideas and phrases litter the intellectual landscape. Or ought to: if you don’t recognize some of his major contributions to the development lexicon – ‘hand over the stick’, ‘uppers and lowers’, […]

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August wonkwar 3: Martin Ravallion v Ricardo Fuentes on inequality

August was wonkwar month here on the blog, with an epic exchange on private v public provision of education, featuring Kevin Watkins v Justin Sandefur. Then I got all cranky about a new paper on NGOs and development. And now a third, and final, exchange (much the most polite) as World Bank poverty guru Martin […]

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Should poverty be defined by a single international poverty line, or country by country? (and what difference does it make?)

This guest post comes from ubercrunchers Ugo Gentilini (World Food Programme), left and Andy Sumner (Institute of Development Studies), right International poverty lines are calculated by the World Bank: $1.25 per day per person is said to represent the ‘absolute poverty line’, below which a person can hardly survive. This is calculated from the mean of […]

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How is poverty research changing? Reflections from some clever people

Last year DFID convened some leading UK-based researchers to brainstorm on the lessons, challenges and frontiers for poverty research. The resulting is an interesting blogpost from the ODI’s Andrew Norton (right) and a paper, ‘Understanding Poverty and Wellbeing’. In his post, Andy explains that ‘the key problem the paper addresses is the mismatch between the […]

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What does the UN’s first Africa Human Development Report say about food security?

A guest post from Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva (right), who is taking over from me as head of research at Oxfam in a couple of weeks, (I’m not leaving, just changing jobs within Oxfam – more on that later). Over the past two years, I spent most of my time working on the first Africa Human Development […]

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We measure relative poverty in rich countries; absolute poverty in poor ones – what if we combine them?

Martin Ravallion, the World Bank’s head of research, has been doing some interesting thinking on poverty lines. We currently have an odd divide between poor countries, where absolute measures are more often used (eg $1.25 a day, the current international poverty line) and rich countries, which tend to use measures of relative poverty. For example, […]

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Africans and food security: what do opinion polls tells us?

I don’t normally associate opinion polls with development (apart from the exhaustive UK and other market research conducted by our campaigners) but in recent weeks a couple of powerpoints have swum in front of my glazed eyes showing some interesting results from opinion polls in large numbers of poor countries, conducted by Gallup and Globescan, […]

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What can poverty researchers in the UK learn from the South and vice versa?

[Sorry the comments button was switched off on Tuesday’s post on the Economist food report. That’s now been sorted so if you were a frustrated commenter, feel free to unburden yourself……] The best ideas often come from bringing groups of thinkers together from disciplines that normally have nothing to do with each other. The Santa […]

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300 years of global writing on poverty in one graph

“There have been significant changes in attitudes to poverty over the last three centuries, away from complacent acceptance, and even contempt for poor people, to the view that society, the economy and government should be judged in part at least by their success in reducing poverty. There are a number of possible explanations for this […]

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Eliminate poverty, don't reduce it: Victor Hugo disses the MDGs

“I am one of those who think and say that it is possible to destroy extreme poverty. Mark you, gentlemen, I am not saying ‘reduce’, ‘lessen’, ‘limit’, ‘control’, I said destroy. Poverty is a disease of society such as leprosy was a disease of the human body, and can be eliminated just as leprosy has […]

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What should aid focus on, poor people or poor countries?

Finally got round to reading the paper that’s been making waves in wonk-land, ‘Global poverty and the new bottom billion: Three-quarters of the World’s poor live in middle-income countries’, by Andy Sumner from the UK’s Institute of Development Studies. In a classic bit of number crunching, Andy takes a fresh look at where poor people now […]

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The co-creator of the UN's new Multidimensional Poverty Index defends her new baby

Sabina Alkire responds to the previous posts by Martin Ravallion and me on her new ‘Multidimensional Poverty Index’. She is director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI). “As Martin Ravallion points out, we agree that poverty is multidimensional. The question is whether our efforts to incorporate multiple dimensions into the very definition […]

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