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

August 4, 2009
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 Mexico (Oportunidades) and evaluates efforts

Climate change latest: the impact in China and leadership from Scotland, plus a new journal on CC and development

June 30, 2009
The amount of new climate change research, reports etc emerging in the run-up to Copenhagen summit already feels slight overwhelming, and the meeting is still five months away. Here are some recent bits and pieces: China and Climate Change An important new report from Oxfam Hong Kong and Greenpeace China unpacks the data on the impact of climate change on

All the latest stats on the development impact of the global crisis

June 24, 2009
My colleague Richard King, an indefatigable number cruncher, has pulled together this handy summary of the latest stats. All updates welcome. Unemployment (ILO) · Gender impact of the economic crisis in terms of unemployment rates is expected to be more detrimental for females than for males in most regions of the world and most clearly in Latin America and the Caribbean

Bad news on food prices – they’re going up again

June 11, 2009
According to the FAO’s excellent and user friendly (even I can make it work) website on world food prices, which has both global price trends and breakdowns by individual country/commodity, world food prices bottomed out some time in February this year, and are now on their way back up again (see graphs – composite food price figure for 2009 is the

Are poor people the best experts on poverty?

June 9, 2009
A series of conversations in recent weeks have made me think a bit harder about the uses and abuses of testimony/first hand experience. First up, the launch of the World Bank book, Moving Out of Poverty at the ODI the other week (see my perhaps over the top review of the book back in March), where I was a ‘discussant’

latest on global crisis from UN: poverty to rise by 73-103 million by end 2009

June 8, 2009
The UN issued an update of its ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009’ last week, with some pretty gloomy downward revisions. Headlines: At least 60 developing countries (out of 107 for which they have data) will suffer a fall in per capita incomes this year, while only 7 will grow fast enough to reduce poverty (compared to 69 countries in

The human impact of climate change – 300,000 deaths per year, 2 in 3 of us already affected

June 5, 2009
A new report pulls together the current evidence on the current and projected human impact of climate change. It’s not pleasant reading. Headline numbers: Every year climate change leaves over 300,000 people dead. This will rise to roughly half a million in 20 years. 325 million people are seriously affected, and economic losses amount to US$125 billion, more than the

US aid reform takes off

May 21, 2009
Shortly after the US election, I blogged about the promising discussions on US aid reform in Washington. Those are now starting to bear fruit. In late April, Howard Berman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced a bill (The Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009–HR 2139). Here are some of his covering remarks: ‘This legislation is an important

How the economic meltdown and climate change are hitting Asia – new reports

May 8, 2009
The Asian Development Bank produces a remarkable amount of frequently high quality analysis. Here are two recent examples on climate change and the impact of the economic meltdown. On the meltdown, a recent ADB Economic Working Paper uses the latest national projections for growth and past poverty performance to refine the predicts that poverty across the whole of Asia will

Why equity matters more than growth: The Spirit Level

May 6, 2009
‘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 put it at $25,000 per

Is HIV a disease of inequality?

April 30, 2009
There is a strong statistical link between income inequality and the prevalence of HIV around the world. Göran Holmqvist, of  the Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm and Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, has an IPC paper out on it, and a one page summary.

How do poor people see the impact of the global crisis? New research from five countries.

April 29, 2009
Some excellent new research on the impact of the global economic crisis: ‘Accounts of Crisis: Poor People’s Experiences of the Food, Fuel and Financial Crisis in Five Countries’. The project was run by the Institute of Development Studies, UK and builds on its pioneering work in participatory research methods to try and get inside poor people’s experiences. I’ve not come