A day is a long time in politics and the first full day of election campaigning was dominated by suggestions that the Conservatives would row back on the commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on aid. But, barely 24 hours later, Theresa May scotched these rumours, perhaps encouraged by a passionate plea from Bill Gates that lives will be lost if the UK reduces its aid.
But this does not mean that battles about the aid budget are over. They now shift to defining exactly what official development assistance (ODA or ‘aid’) can be used to achieve. The OECD controls this definition, enabling it to collect authoritative statistics on what each member country spends. Over the years it has had to produce a very precise definition, preventing countries from attempting to count any overseas spending as ODA. This has included commercial loans, subsidies to arms manufacturers, and export-credit guarantees for civil engineering companies to win contracts in Africa and Asia: all activities to achieve domestic benefits rather than promoting international development.
Professor Stephen Kosack (Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington) joined us on 10 May 2017 to share a new framework based on the first systematic survey of mass movements of at least 1,000 citizens over a sustained period.
The research focuses on mass movements from 1900 to 2012 in the Middle East and North Africa, a region that has experienced numerous and increasing mobilisations, despite some of its governments being amongst the most politically repressive in the world.
This paradox puts the recent ‘Arab Spring’ mobilisations into historical context and calls for renewed attention to how, when and why states respond to collective voices seeking greater inclusion in their political order. Listen to the talk →
11 May 2017
ESID and IDS researcher Naomi Hossain on her passion for development research, linking climate change and development and moving house for the eigth time in 12 years…
1. What made you want to work in development research?
I was brought up in Bangladesh and the world of aid and development was always very familiar. Then at university I was very involved in feminist and queer politics and other social justice issues, so it was a quick and easy step into development when I left. My first job was at BRAC in Bangladesh, my second at the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex, my third at BRAC again and my fourth and current at IDS again. Continue Reading →
In a recent blog for the World Bank Jing Guo, a member of the group’s Public Opinion Research Group, outlines the ways in which strengthening governance has climbed the agenda of opinion leaders in developing countries.
The World Bank’s 2016 poll of more than 35,000 opinion leaders working in government, parliament, private sector, civil society, media and academia in more than 120 developing countries found that addressing public sector governance/reform is now regarded as the most important development priority across 45 countries by many opinion leaders (34%), more so than education (30%) and job creation (22%).
2 May 2017
As we near completion of Phase 1 research (and gear up for 2.5 years of Phase 2), those of us involved in ESID’s theoretical synthesis feel pretty confident about the basic elements of our framework. Going beyond the somewhat simplistic readings of institutions and elite interests that we inherited from early political settlements work, we have now zeroed in on a mid-level theory of developmental trajectories, where variation is explained through a combination of high-level political settlement features (especially the dichotomy between dominance and competition) and low-level policy domain features (sector characteristics as well as the autonomy/dependence of a domain on the political settlement).
This is the ‘domains of power’ approach that we took last month to the Political Studies Association (PSA) in Glasgow (see the presentations below), and it is consistent with the evolving work of some of our intellectual accomplices, like Brian Levy, Michael Walton or Tim Kelsall. However, most of the questions that we fielded at our PSA panel were not about dominance or about sectors, but about the third leg of our analytical stool (which curiously featured in all our titles): ideas. Continue Reading →