An old wooden chest on a beach

Financing for development – where the treasure is buried

We won’t get development from global and domestic “tax and spend” alone. We should be focusing more on the huge untapped wealth locked up by policies and behaviour which distort the global economy, creating massive economic, environmental, and welfare losses for most of the world’s population. Read the full post »
Beth Barnes talking at TEDx Exeter

Effective Altruism

Here is Beth Barnes of Exeter College on the difference that effective altruism could make:

Go to to read the rest

Read the full post »
The Ajaokuta steel factory in 1994

How should donors work with the private sector?

We are enthusiastic about the growing interest in supporting private investment in developing countries, but it matters a lot how this is done. The tools that donor countries usually use to “crowd in” the private sector — guarantees and cheap loans — distort firms’ incentives by reducing their risks or increasing their rewards irrespective of how well they do. Donors should not pick winners. Read the full post »
Ants forming a bridge across a gap

Can aid agencies help systems fix themselves?

If economic development is a property of a complex adaptive system then what, if anything, can development agencies and NGOs do to accelerate it? Read the full post »
A picture of the National Audit Office

No smoking gun – DFID and the surge in spending

Press reports about the NAO report on DFID budget management in 2013 are wholly misleading. DFID actually comes out of the report pretty well. There is a cautionary tale here for DFID, but it isn’t about the way it manages its budget. It is that the sharks are circling, and they do not seem to be very interested in the facts. Read the full post »
Picture of sign saying "Attention Ebola! Ne Touchons Jamais Ne Manipulons Jamais"

Finding a cure for Ebola

The lessons of Ebola: first, set sensible cost-effectiveness thresholds for investments in global health, and so increase our willingness to invest; second, make an Advance Market Commitment to accelerate the development of new vaccines, for Ebola and for other neglected diseases. Read the full post »