Is it useful/right to see Development as a Collective Action Problem?

September 4, 2015
The Developmental Leadership Programme is producing a good series of bluffer’s guides Concept Briefs. The latest is on Collective Action (previous ones on Political Settlements and State Legitimacy). They’re just 3 pages, including further reading, and are ideal for anyone who wants to impress in a meeting by bandying around the latest jargon. According to the paper, written by Caryn

Have technology and globalization kicked away the ladder of ‘easy’ development? Dani Rodrik thinks so

June 26, 2015
Dani Rodrik was in town his week, and I attended a brilliant presentation at ODI. Very exciting. He’s been one of my heroes ever since I joined the aid and development crowd in the late 90s, when he was one of the few high profile economists to be arguing against the liberalizing market-good/state-bad tide on trade, investment and just about

Should men boycott all-male panels at conferences?

January 8, 2013
A conversation on twitter this weekend triggered (yet another) ethical dilemma. Gosh it’s exhausting trying to be a do-gooder. Claire Melamed started it by sending round a link to an article arguing that men should sign a pledge stating publicly that they will refuse to take part in all-male panels at tech conferences (which are regularly men-only affairs, apparently). As

Can environment and development really come together next week in Rio?

June 12, 2012

A nostalgic debate on globalization and development

September 7, 2011

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

March 21, 2011

Africa’s four different kinds of economies

August 25, 2010
I’m a sucker for typologies. I guess they’re a wonk’s equivalent of those ‘what were the ten best punk/ska/heavy metal albums of all time?’ discussions in the pub. Here’s a nice one from ‘Lions on the Move’, a breathlessly upbeat new McKinsey report on Africa. It finds four clusters of African economies + a few outliers. Click on the scatterplot for

What is the point of conferences?

June 15, 2010
Last week I sat dazed through an EU conference on aid, grappling with presentations in Spanish, English and Portuguese and fending off powerpoint poisoning (the acute version produced by academics putting up page after page crammed with tiny text and saying ‘you probably can’t read it, but what the table says is…..’). During brief periods of consciousness, I reflected on

Recession, development and climate change: the big picture

December 28, 2008

Is the Buzzword mightier than the Sword?

December 1, 2008