This is the website of Owen Barder, a development economist. Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development, and an Associate of the Institute for Government. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen was a London 2012 Gamesmaker.
December 6th, 2013
"If you add up all the aid that all OECD countries have given since they started counting it in 1960, and then assume that the only thing that this aid has achieved was the eradication of smallpox, then the whole thing would still be a bargain, costing less than half what the UK National Health Serv
December 5th, 2013
If we were measuring rhetoric, all our indicators would be in good shape. But rhetoric is not the same as reality. We have added up the scores for the 21 OECD countries which have been in the CDI since it began in 2003, suitably weighted, to see whether they have collectively lived up to their promi
November 30th, 2013
November 19th, 2013
This joint post with Petra Krylová first appeared on the Center for Global Development blog, Views from the Center. It announces the publication of the 2013 Commitment to Development Index, which is CGD's annual exercise to score affluent countries according to whether they have development-friendly
Other recent blog posts
November 13th, 2013
I went on Newsnight to explain why humanitarian aid is important but can be improved. Terrifying.
November 12th, 2013
A letter in today's Financial Times by Caroline Fiennes, David Hall Matthews, Fran Perrin, Vij Ramachandran and me argues that relief efforts could be more effective if humanitarian aid agencies published details of what they are doing
February 24th, 2013
In the latest edition of Development Drums, Rakesh Rajani and Martin Tisné discuss accountability and open government.
January 15th, 2013
Aaron Swartz, who died on January 11th, worked and fought for key freedoms of our time: the right to information, to share knowledge and ideas, and to speak freely. This blog post considers the importance of these issues for development, and what we might do to continue his fight.
August 29th, 2013
Here are some suggestions for podcasts for people interested in development (and/or economics).
June 1st, 2013
One thing that the public knows, which many development experts apparently do not, is that poor countries are poor because they are badly governed and have institutions which prevent growth and permit a small elite to capture the nation's wealth. According to Why Nations Fail, by Daron Acemoğlu and
Popular blog posts
August 27th, 2012
This second of three blog posts looking at development policy through the lens of complexity thinking considers whether David Cameron's 'golden thread' is good development policy.
April 12th, 2012
This post sets out seven worries about the results agenda; four reasons why the results agenda is vital; and a series of measures aimed at balancing these concerns.
July 27th, 2011
Two things to keep in mind about famine and drought. First, famine is not caused by drought or overpopulation or insufficient food production. Second, development aid works.
August 16th, 2012
My 2012 Kapuściński Lecture considered the implications of complexity thinking for development economics and development policy. This post presents an updated version as a narrated online presentation which lasts about 45 minutes.
September 7th, 2012
Owen Barder and Ben Ramalingam look at the implications of complexity for the trend towards results-based management in development cooperation. They argue that complexity provides a powerful reason for pursuing the results agenda, but it has to be done in ways which reflect the context.
February 22nd, 2011
I’ve spent the last three years working on aid transparency. As I’m moving on to an exciting new role this seems a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned in the last three years. Busy readers may want to read just the 8-point summary.
August 24th, 2012
This the first of three blog posts exploring the implications of complexity for development. In my lecture on complexity I argue that development is an emergent property of the economic and social system. This blog post explains what that means.
April 7th, 2011
The second of a pair of posts on aid transparency: this one looking at proposed next steps, particularly focusing on how we can provide meaningful transparency for citizens in developing countries.