Development blogs you should read

It would be invidious to recommend particular blogs, and what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t be invidious? So, if you only read a few development blogs, here is my list of who I think you should be reading. I expect I have embarrassed myself by leaving out somebody crucial – if so, please tell me in the comments and I’ll fix it.  I’ve also updated the blogroll on the right of the page.

Development blogs you should be reading

To make this pleasingly controversial, I’ve also put them roughly in order, from “must read” at the top to “probably should read”.  I’m not going in for that “in no particular order” fence-sitting stuff.

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Development organisations and think-tanks

Here are some blogs from development organisations and think tanks – some of them can err on the wrong side of the blog/flog boundary from time to time.  Again, best ones are first.

Development podcasts

Here are some development-related podcasts. (I’m about to start a new series of Development Drums, by the way).

Bubbling up: newer development blogs

Here are some more you might want check out – they are too new (to me, at least) or slightly off-topic to be included in my “must read” list, but they look promising:

And of course there are more also-rans and off-topic blogs on the right of the screen.

On Twitter

If you are a Twitter user, you might be interested to add these to your list of people you follow:

Who are we missing?

I’m looking forward to being introduced to new blogs, and being reminded of blogs I’ve forgotten, in the comments.

40 comments on “Development blogs you should read”

  1. This is a great list, Owen. Chris Blattman’s blog is also my #1, and my NYU colleague Bill Easterly is also high on my list. I’d also add the Financial Access Initiative blog–I think we’ve got some interesting things to say about using rigorous research to find answers to how financial sectors can better meet the needs of poor households.
    Blog at http://financialaccess.org/blog and on Twitter @financialaccess

  2. Thanks Owen!

    My vote for best Podcast (or second best after Development Drums) is the LSE’s public talk series:
    http://www.lse.ac.uk/resources/podcasts/publicLecturesAndEvents.htm

    It’s not all development, but in between the science and the literature you can find all sorts of gems: Chomsky on human rights; Zizek on ideology; Rodrik, Held and Patton on globalisation, Duflo on Rural Development; Krugman on trade, Jolly on the UN…I can’t recommend it enough.

    On the subject of the LSE, your link to Do no Harm is broken. It should be: http://badcure.wordpress.com/

    Thanks again.

  3. Owen,

    I recently launched a blog on the World Bank and transparency and accountability issues as well as thoughts on reforms. I worked at the World Bank for 12 years where I managed B-SPAN, the World Bank’s webcasting station for development and I am the author of The World Bank Unveiled: Inside the Revolutionary Struggle for Transparency. The World Bank Unveiled documents my experiences inside the Bank seeking to reform the institution into one that is more open and accountable to its stakeholders. If you are interested, you may visit the blog at http://theworldbankunveiled.wordpress.com/ or read more about the book at http://www.worldbankunveiled.com.

  4. Hi Owen, Thanks for adding the blog I manage to your list of recommendations. The Rethinking Development blog started two years ago and was originally intended to be a team blog, however due to other people’s time constraints, I am managing it alone. As the sole manager though this kind of defeats the original idea of having diverse views from different people in one place. So I would like to extend an invitation to all those readers of this blog, who may not have their own blogs but who are interested in sending in contributions to be put up on our blog or have any interesting bits of research work that they would like to have publicised on the net. I would be happy to upload their views on our blog!
    Thanks again, Sumita

  5. Hi Owen,

    really like the blog,I´d be really interested to know how you think the recent developed country commitments to adaptation finance is going to affects aid and development policy in general. I have to say it does worry me that large amounts of money are being talked about but few people have a very clear idea of exactly what this money will, and should, be used for, whether it will fund large development projects, or sea defenses, or general institutional capacity building. Anyway I thought I´d cheekily take this opportunity to let you know about our new blog at IIED, Due South, where we look at the effects of the recession on sustainable development. We´re going to sort out a blogroll shortly, and I´d be interested in your comments. Thanks so much!
    Rachel Godfrey Wood
    Due South Blog, IIED
    http://www.iied.org/sustainable-markets/blog/due-south

  6. I assume from this list that Africans don’t blog on development matters related to the continent?!

    Its a great pity.

    I happen to know quite a number of good African bloggers who are economists. Let us try and be less imperialist :)

    Owen replies – I agree that we want to hear more from people from developing countries. Which African bloggers who write about development economics do you recommend? Owen

  7. There are many such, but one which I found by looking from your review of Moyo’s book.

    The Zambian Economist http://www.zambian-economist.com clearly is far better than many of the blogs you have listed above!

    We need authentic voices. I can tell more Africans are reading that website than the ones you are highlighting. Africans are now looking to Africans to shape their understanding. This is why Moyo, despite her flaws is a success!

    In the Caribbean we have similar voices : http://www.normangirvan.info/

    I suggest you look into this issue seriously and find authentic voices by engaging these two voices for example!

    Owen replies: I’m not disagreeing. Please keep suggesting others.

  8. Hi Owen,

    Just a couple of suggestions for blogs and podcasts:

    1) Blog – whydev.org (www.whydev.org) – a site and network created by development students and graduates, which brings together contributors from around the world (disclaimer: a little self-promotion).
    2) Podcast – Aidworks – Australia’s only weekly radio show and podcast on aid and development. http://www.2ser.com/programs/shows/aidworks

    We are also putting together a ‘Development Bundle’ over at curated.by, which will be an open collection of blogs, sites and resources on aid and development. http://www.curated.by/whydev/development.

    Cheers,

  9. Hey Owen,

    Great list, I’ve started following many of the blogs you have listed. Take a look at the blog for the organization Of Rags: Sustainable Fashion, its an interesting perspective on community development through providing jobs to make clothing and then reinvesting in the community through a peer education program.

    Thanks!

    Doreen

  10. Hi Owen,

    This is a really useful list – and enlightening to read further suggestions by readers.

    I’d like to recommend Simon Zadek’s blog – http://www.zadek.net which covers a wide range of issues i.e. green growth, ICT & low carbon development, emerging nations and sustainability, the china-africa relationship.

    I’d like to point readers particularly to a recent post on private finance initiatives (PFIs)in which he highlights the effects of PFIs on financing infrastructure and public services in Africa, and other developing countries – http://www.zadek.net/partnership-shame/

    Thanks,

  11. Hello Owen,

    Great site.

    I would like to recommend “Living with Purpose”, a fairly new blog started by a bloke I worked with in Lesotho. His name is Ken and he had some pretty good insights into the whole game. I am sure he will start getting into those once he figures out the whole blogging milieu.

    His blog is http://volunteer2serve.blogspot.com/

    Thanks,
    JByrd

  12. Dear Owen,

    if you like you may include our blog “CTA Brussels” in your list of development organisations. On http://brussels.cta.int, we cover the relations between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, with a particular focus on agriculture, rural development and food security.

    Best regards and keep up the good work,
    Andre

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Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development, a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics, 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 is on Twitter and