Development's 2 tribes; post-2015; the Big Dope Hunt; Save the Kids v The Economist; the next frontier; Millennium Villages under fire; African take-off: great advocacy videos: links I liked

And please don’t forget to fill in the reader survey to the right – only takes a few minutes, promise. ‘Both camps should show greater humility: macro-development practitioners about what they already know, and micro-development practitioners about what they can learn.’ Magisterial overview from Dani Rodrik of progress in the two great development wonk tribes – the macros and the micros (who just won the World Bank presidency, in the shape of Jim Kim) New website on all things post-2015 (you know, what comes after the Millennium Development Goals etc) ‘Cannabis worth £5,000 found in bin bag donated to Huddersfield’s Oxfam Wastesaver depot’ A possible successor to the big bra hunt?  [h/t Liz Stuart] Save the Children’s annual ‘State of the World’s Mothers’ report names Niger as the worst country in which to have kids and promptly gets attacked by the Economist, which makes itself look very silly indeed (read the comments) [h/t Alex Cobham]  ‘What is the next frontier? I would put money on industrial development and, with it, a new breed of industrial policy.’ Chris Blattman says forget RCTs, industrial policy is the next big thing (wait, wasn’t it the last big thing too?) The blogosphere has been abuzz with critiques of the latest bit of self-serving hype, evaluation from the Millennium Villages Project – here’s a nice example from Aid Thoughts. Five (interesting) reasons to expect developmental take-off in Africa, from the World Bank’s Africa Can blog. What makes a top advocacy video (and here’s an example, on rape in the US military) [h/t Global Voices] ]]>

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2 Responses to “Development's 2 tribes; post-2015; the Big Dope Hunt; Save the Kids v The Economist; the next frontier; Millennium Villages under fire; African take-off: great advocacy videos: links I liked”
  1. Rosemary

    Thanks for posting the article by Dani Rodrik, which I found intriguing. My sense is that there is a need to look differently at the context in which the ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ approaches are contrasted.
    The ‘nodal governance’ theory posits that governance is not an activity privileged to the state alone, but that the state is one actor of many in a network of governance.
    Communities which develop their capacity to solve problems at the local level (see the Zwelethemba example in South Africa) also develop their capacity to become a “node” within governance. This local-level capacity effectively ‘thickens’ democracy by adding local level actors and thus bringing change to the top of the system as well

  2. Does The Economist look “very silly indeed” for doubting that Uzbekistan and North Korea have been two of the world’s most successful countries in terms of reducing child malnutrition? I looked up some other indicators of basic welfare to see how these countries were doing. I think it’s fair to say that if they were making great strides on child malnutrition they would also be doing at least fairly well on other social measures, too. But they aren’t. North Korea’s life expectancy is falling. It was 70.8 years in 1990 and is now 68.8. To see falling life expectacy is extremely rare and usually an indicator of prfound social and economic problems. I suspect that gives a better indication of real conditions of life in the country, though I admit no one can be sure since North Korean society is so opaque. Uzbekistan’s life expectancy is basically flat. It was 67.3 in 1990 and 67.4 in 2005.10. Its score on the human development index has risen a bit (from 0.611 in 2005 to 0.641 in 2011, ie an improvement of 0.03 in the period). But this isn’t much of an improvement. Tanzania’s HDI score has gone up by 0.1, Ghana’s by 0.6. So countries that are doing well by this measure are improving their HDI scores far, far more than Uzbekistan is. Of course this doesn’t prove the DHS numbers quoted by Save the Children are wrong. But it does pose a puzzle: how come these countries are doing so well on one measure of basic well being and so badly on others? One possible answer to that is that there is something a bit odd about the DHS numbers and that it’s not very silly to raise doubts about them.