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Book Review: The Moral Economy of Elections in Africa

April 7, 2021
I love it when a book nails something that’s been lurking at the back of my mind, but never pinned down. The Moral Economy of Elections in Africa, by Nic Cheeseman, Gabrielle Lynch and Justin Willis, does just that. It explores the gulf between how politicians (and not just in Africa) see themselves (motivated by ideas of virtue as well
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Book Review: How to Rig an Election, by Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas

November 3, 2020
Thought I’d repost this book review from 2018 today. No particular reason…. 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

Why election politics don’t work as well for the environment as they do for international development

May 11, 2017
Guest post from Matthew Spencer, who crossed over from the environment sector recently to become Oxfam’s Director of Campaigns and Policy  Before the end of the first week of the UK election campaign, to widespread surprise, Theresa May agreed to the development sector’s main demand to maintain our 0.7% overseas aid commitment. In contrast, the following week the government had

This Sunday, Brazilians decide between two progressive women presidents. How do they compare?

October 2, 2014
Oxfam’s  country director, Simon Ticehurst (right), fills in the background ahead of this weekend’s election Some colleagues asked me this week, what is going to happen in the elections and who should I vote for? First up, prediction is not my forte. Last year in June I sent an optimistic briefing on Brazil to Oxfam´s CEO, saying that poverty was

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

May 23, 2014
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 the Legatum Institute and South

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

May 6, 2014
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 exercise their right to vote

10 Killer Facts on Democracy and Elections

July 12, 2013
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 astonishing political transformation has taken

7 steps from autocracy to democracy

March 14, 2011

Some things governments can do to support development even without spending more money

February 2, 2010
Before any general election, anyone involved in advocacy indulges in ‘what would my dream manifesto look like?’ fantasies. (And then usually goes off to lobby the political parties and be told why their ideas are silly). 2010 is no exception, with the impending (probably 6 May) UK general election followed by decisive moments this year on climate change (in Mexico in

Cleaning up Dirty Elections – what works?

October 15, 2009
The Centre for the Study of African Economies in Oxford (home to Paul Collier, among others) is putting out some fascinating two pagers on its work, including two recent papers on ‘dirty elections’. In ‘Cleaning up Dirty Elections’ Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler go to work  on a new data set spanning nearly 30 years and 155 countries (suggesting that