Why We Fight: This Year’s Big Book on Development?

Why We Fight, by Chris Blattman, a prof at the University of Chicago, is shaping up to be this year’s Big Book – it’s everywhere on my timeline, the FT book of the summer etc etc. A summary and some thoughts. Usually I decide early on if I like a book or not, on the […]

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“We have already spent everything we had in our own wallets”: How international aid is failing Ukrainian responders – and what to do about it

Abby Stoddard, Paul Harvey and Tonia Thomas present new research from Humanitarian Outcomes, supported by the UK Humanitarian Innovation Hub (UKHIH). Full report here. Over 100 days have passed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine sparked a massive humanitarian crisis along with an outpouring of international generosity in the form of aid contributions. So why […]

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Is behavioural economics (aka nudge theory) blocking the path to progress?

There’s been an upsurge in recent decades in tackling problems by trying to change the behaviour of individuals – behavioural economics, nudge theory and a proliferation of government ‘nudge units’. Now two disillusioned proponents, Nick Chater and George Loewenstein, have written an important critique of the whole thing, contrasting what they call the ‘i (individual) […]

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Links I Liked

Brief history of physics ht @sunny and Richard C. Some interesting stuff on aid this week: ‘If you look at the bigger picture of change, aid has been close to irrelevant’. Stefan Dercon rattling cages about his new book. But surely aid still matters for things other than ‘big picture’ growth, like helping in crises, […]

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Development Nutshell: round-up (20m) of FP2P posts, w/b 6th June

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(Re)making the case for adaptive management part 2: What to read? What Constitutes Evidence? Where are the Gaps?

Tom Aston continues yesterday’s summary of what we know about adaptive management There are many papers which make a convincing case for adaptive programming. Here’s my top 5: Escaping capability traps through problem-driven iterative adaptation (Andrews, Pritchett, and Woolcock, 2012) Getting real about politics: from thinking politically to working differently (Rocha Menocal, 2014) Development entrepreneurship: how donors and leaders […]

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(Re)making the case for adaptive management

Following yesterday’s reflection on the MEL of working in complex systems, Tom Aston provides a great overview of what to read on adaptive management. It’s a long one, so I’ve split it into two – second installment tomorrow. Christian Aid Ireland’s recent publication The Difference Learning Makes by Stephen Gray and Andy Carl made a bit of a […]

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Rethinking monitoring, evaluation and learning in complex systems

Two interesting recent posts on Adaptive Management, complexity etc, which the authors have kindly allowed me to repost here. First up is Søren Vester Haldrup, from UNDP’s Strategic Innovation Unit, wrestling with the issue of measurement and learning. Original post here. Tomorrow Tom Aston provides a great overview of where we’ve got to on adaptive […]

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Links I Liked

From our local Jubilee street party. Neat (if unintended) summary of state of union, monarchy, hangovers…. What if Putin’s true goals are different? Branko Milanovic wonders if the West is playing into Putin’s hands, by building a ‘new iron curtain’. A country-by-country guide to worsening drought in the Horn of Africa. (Actually, drought + war, […]

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Promoting anti-racist narratives in development sector research

The IIED’s Natalie Lartey explores common challenges in tackling racial bias in the storytelling that underpins international development research and identifies opportunities for change. Storytelling in the aid and development sectors has for many years been criticised for perpetuating racial stereotypes and bias. In the main, this critique has focused on public affairs content from big […]

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