14 July 2014.
By Rowena Harding.
A policy brief is a concise summary of a particular issue, the policy options to deal with it, and some recommendations on the best option. It is aimed at government policymakers and others who are interested in formulating or influencing policy.
It’s one of many tactics to help research get used by policymakers and can be effective for cold contact across large groups of policymakers; it also helps researchers and supporting teams to get their messages tightened ahead of networking with warm contacts.
But who is responsible for conceiving and writing policy briefs? Should academics be forced to write them because they know their research best? Should communications personnel struggle with the research because they can write accessibly? It’s one of the many debates we see across all our research programmes at ESID and the wider Brooks World Poverty Institute. Continue Reading →
10 July 2014.
The ESID partnership includes many dedicated and accomplished researchers, but few are as outspoken and immune to conventional wisdom as Lant Pritchett. A Professor at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, Lant is also one of the key members of ESID’s growth project. His contributions to ESID include the Visual Handbook on The Dynamics of Economic Growth, a paper with Eric Werker on a “Grand Unified Theory” of inclusive growth, and another paper with Kunal Sen and colleagues on estimating the magnitude of growth episodes, with the compelling title “Trillions Gained and Lost”. Continue Reading →
2 July 2014.
By Pablo Yanguas and Rowena Harding.
Nick Manning retired in December 2013 from the position of Head of the Governance and Public Sector Management group at the World Bank. During a visit to Manchester earlier this spring we managed to ask him a few questions about aid, donors, the public sector, and the potential for research to have a real impact.
23 June 2014.
Political and policy-making elites are at the centre of the challenges of inclusive development: their commitment constrains the menu of potentially inclusive policies, whilst their capacity determines the chances that these will ever be fully implemented. Arguments about the causal role of elites revolve around whether they are either inclusive or extractive, patrimonial or developmental (or both). Yet we know surprisingly little about what makes some elites more developmental than others.
Conventional arguments about elite commitment focus either on the personality traits and personal background of specific leaders, or alternatively they explore the structural features of the political settlements that elites inhabit. However, the analysis of implementation processes in developing countries highlights the limitations of either personalising or depersonalising politics: choices about policy as well as its implementation are often shaped by the constellation of political and policy-making elites at the very top. The current state of the literature suggests that the next step in trying to understand the role of elites in economic development would be to bring into the analysis the specific characteristics of elite members: What are their defining features? Have they changed over time? Continue Reading →
20 June 2014
By Kate Pruce.
ESID’s aim is to “create a robust, relevant and accessible body of evidence that will help local, national and international efforts in developing countries to secure states that are more effective at and committed to delivering inclusive development”. Rather than looking for quick fix solutions, we want to ensure scientifically rigorous evidence leading to the creation of useful knowledge about what works and what doesn’t in the field of development.
This approach is the basis for a workshop series on impact evaluation for international development, with the focus of the first workshop being on tools and methods that can be used to create a deeper understanding of the process of change. In his opening remarks Prof David Hulme set the scene within the context of increasing interest in impact evaluation, visible in DFID’s focus on evidence and the ESRC’s commitment to impact assessment. The programme was varied, with presentations ranging from studies in challenging conflict-affected environments to health, education and poverty alleviation. This provided the opportunity to tackle key debates based on empirical data and researcher experiences of the complexities of carrying out an impact evaluation in practice. Continue Reading →