The Great Leveller: A conversation with Walter Scheidel on Inequality and Apocalypse

When I visited Stanford recently at the invitation of Francis Fukuyama, I also dropped in on Walter Scheidel, an Austrian historian who has taken time off from his main interest (the Romans) to write a powerful, and pretty depressing, book on inequality. Like Fukuyama, Scheidel is a big brain who favours the grand narrative – […]

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Sociology v Economics: handy translation guide

Some more academic humour to add to the recent ‘what researchers say v what they mean‘ post, (gets better as you go down the table) via Chris Blattman. From a 1990 ‘Economics to Sociology Phrasebook‘ by two baffled economics students. It shows its age, but wears well, which is as much as any of us […]

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Is Recognition the missing piece of politics? A conversation with Francis Fukuyama

Getting Francis Fukuyama to endorse How Change Happens was one of the high points of publication – he’s been a hero of mine ever since I read (and reviewed) his magisterial history of the state (right). Last week I finally got to meet him, when I took up an invitation to speak to students and faculty […]

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Should the Gates Foundation Do Data Differently?

Spent a fascinating day last week talking to staff at the Gates Foundation at its HQ in a cold, grey and sleety Seattle (felt quite at home). I presented the book in one of those ‘brownbag lunches’ that Americans love (although these days ‘clear plastic box lunches’ would be more accurate), and we then got […]

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What kind of evidence might persuade people to change their minds on refugees?

Oxfam Humanitarian Policy Adviser Ed Cairns reflects on using evidence to influence the treatment of refugees Who thinks that governments decide what to do on refugees after carefully considering the evidence? Not many, I suspect. So it was an interesting to be asked to talk about that at the  ‘Evidence for Influencing’ conference Duncan wrote […]

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Is there a new Washington Consensus? An analysis of five World Development Reports.

Alice Evans earns my undying admiration (and ubergeek status) by casually revealing that she has read the last 5 WDRs on the day of their publication. Here she summarizes what they show about the Bank’s evolving view of the world. A new Washington Consensus is emerging… It recognises complexity, context, learning by doing, politics, and […]

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Is inequality going up or down?

My Oxfam colleague and regular FP2P contributor Max Lawson sends out a weekly summary of his reading on inequality (he leads Oxfam’s advocacy work on it). They’re great, and Max has opened his mailing list up to the anyone who’s interested – just email max.lawson@oxfam.org, with ‘subscribe’ in the subject line. Here’s his latest effort […]

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How is evidence actually used in policy-making? A new framework from a global DFID programme

Guest post from David Rinnert (@DRinnert) and Liz Brower (@liz_brower1), both of DFID Over the last decade there has been significant investment in high-quality, policy-relevant research and evidence focussed on poverty reduction. For example, the American Economic Association’s registry for randomised controlled trials currently lists 1,294 studies in 106 countries, many of which have yielded […]

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