29 March 2018
For at least a couple of decades NGOs and others in developing countries have been designing, evaluating, tinkering, and trying to improve projects and programs that deliver specific in-kind “interventions” (e.g., micro-credit, asset transfers, business training, savings) to targeted individuals/households (e.g., women, the “ultra-poor”, small enterprises) in ways that raised their incomes in a sustained way. The first wave of the randomista revolution led many, if not most, but certainly not all, development economists to think that, given (a) the difficulties of design, (b) the higher costs, and (c) difficulty of achieving implementation with fidelity, projects that delivered “in kind” goods/services/assets to targeted population were unlikely to be better than cash (as argued memorably by Blattman and Niehaus 2014). Continue Reading →
27 March 2018
ESID Research on the politics of governing Ghana’s oil has been published as an article, Party politics and the political economy of Ghana’s oil, in the New Political Economy Journal. The research first came out as a working paper.
The article, by ESID researchers Giles Mohan, Kojo Asante and Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai, argues that institutions are very important to resource governance, but particularly in the way that they are embedded in circuits of political power and coalitional competition. They find that, despite the existence of democratic institutions, the country’s benefits from oil have been limited. They show how a combination of both interests and, crucially, ideas, affect the way that elite coalitions govern oil in Ghana. They uncover how key differences in the ideas that leading coalitions hold about development make the difference to the way in which oil resources are governed.
21 March 2018
Listen to Diana Mitlin interview Pablo Yanguas about his new book Why We Lie About Aid which is out now on Zed books. They discuss the aid sector, accountability and the Department for International Development.
You can also find this and other episodes on:
21 March 2018
Everyone at ESID is saddened to hear that Simeen Mahmud recently passed away.
Simeen was head of the Gender Studies Cluster and the Coordinator of the Centre for Gender and Social Transformation (CGST) at BRAC University in Bangladesh.
Simeen was also an outstanding, highly valued collaborator for ESID, most recently contributing to a working paper and book chapter with Sohela Nazneen on the gendered politics of securing inclusive development. She was also an important contributer to last year’s ESID and BIGD Policy workshop in Bangaldesh
Kunal Sen paid tribute to Simeen, saying:
“Simeen Mahmud was a remarkable scholar of gender in South Asia, and many of us in Manchester had come to know her well through the many interactions we had with her over the years. We had a tremendous respect for her scholarship, her humanity and her generosity to others.
I myself feel a very personal loss as I greatly admired her work, and the calm and dignified manner she conducted herself in all professional interactions, and always looked forward to the next interaction I would have with her on our common research interests on women’s work.
There are very few scholars of her stature in South Asia. Her work will live on for a very long time.”
Sohela Nazneen added:
“If you are working on demographic changes, accountability in health systems, unpaid care work, labour markets or citizen’s movement in Bangladesh you must have read Simeen Mahmud’s work. Her cross disciplinary approach and grasp over methods made her work exciting to read. Simeen has nurtured generations of young social science scholars in Bangladesh and through her leadership in various international research consortia enriched the intellectual debates on development, citizenship and gender.
Simeen’s scholarly and personal integrity was inspiring, her affection for younger colleagues boundless, and the respect and care she had for her contemporaries and elders genuine. There are very few scholars who evoke the kind of respect, admiration and love that she did. Simeen was a truly remarkable person. I will miss her always.”
A recent book chapter entitled ‘The Gendered Politics of Securing Inclusive Development’, written by Simeen with Sohela Nazneen, can be read here.
19 March 2018
Pablo’s provocative new book Why We Lie About Aid, is described by ODI Principal Research Fellow David Booth as ‘one of the most exciting books about development aid in many years’. Here Pablo talks about why he wrote the book and what he wants to achieve with it.
Why We Lie About Aid is a book born out of bafflement, and not a little bit of frustration.
For a long time now I have been baffled about the apparent disconnect between how we – the public in donor countries – talk about aid as if it was solely about charity and poverty. I have seen friends, family and colleagues exposed time and again to donation drives, famine celebrities, and NGOs whose messaging centred on destitution. Or, alternatively, they have been told that aid is a waste of money, a useless or even corrupt tool for fattening experts and dictators. Both narratives stand in marked contrast to my research and consulting work, where I have encountered policymakers, public servants, civil society advocates and development practitioners tirelessly working to set up and improve the institutions that can guarantee more effective states, fairer markets and freer societies. I can only understand development – and, by extension, development assistance – as a political task. And yet that view has been all but absent from public debate, even among those most in favour of international solidarity. Continue Reading →