Charles Kenny, with a bunch of good news and pointing out that recent improvements almost everywhere on Earth, over a range of indicators, are both encouraging and also somewhat at odds with the argument that institutions are both central to development and resistant to change. Dani Rodrik offers a good counter argument though, at least to the arguments about improved developing country economic performance: the global economic environment has been exceptionally favourable and this may not last; and plenty of countries have had growth lift offs in the past, only to be unable to sustain them in the long run.
On the subject of institutions James Robinson has an excellent talk explaining the Robinson/Acemoglu school of thought on extractive institutions, economic inequality, and political inequality.
Andy Sumner looks at interesting new research on inequality. Sumner also looks at who’s done best at tackling inequality in Latin America and why.
Lawrence Haddad goes to an impact evaluation conference and comes away with two key insights on how to help research and evaluation improve development policy:
· building the bridge between evidence and policy is a two-way process: researchers should ensure that evidence is substantial, timely and policy-relevant; policymakers need to be ‘evaluation literate’ and understand the value of using evidence in policy
· there is an important role to be played by ‘intermediaries’ – those who synthesise, repackage, ‘translate’ – making research and evidence relevant and usable beyond academia
Lane Kenworthy looks at the impact of taxation on economic growth.
John Quiggin helpfully discusses peak oil.
African Arguments looks at at Al Shabab.
Owen Barder argues that aid doesn’t have to promote economic development to be useful.
The Lancet looks at how Sierra Leone has been able to provide free health care.
And finally, J. nails it: some ideas, no matter how good, just can’t be implimented. To which I’d add the related point: just because we ought to do something doesn’t mean we can.