What Can International Development Learn From Britain’s Olympic Team?

Getting on the bandwagon of identifying lessons from Team GB's relative success at the 2016 Olympic Games. Read the full post »
The sun shines on Ardbeg distillery warehouse

Why taxing global companies is hard

Should the profits on scotch whisky be taxed in Scotland, where it is made, or China where it is sold? And what about Google? Read the full post »

Price discrimination and welfare costs

There is nothing inherently wrong with price discrimination. But some of the mechanisms firms use to enforce it have huge welfare costs. Read the full post »
Red cat lying on the sofa.

Fat cats

By the end of today, the average Chief Executive of a FTSE 100 company will have been paid more than the average employee earns all year.  The same average employee will have been paid more than the average Ethiopian earns all year. Read the full post »

Humanitarian Cash Transfers

The Free Exchange column in this week's Economist discusses the work of the High Level Panel on Humanitarian Cash Transfers. Read the full post »

Transforming Humanitarian Aid with Cash Transfers: High Level Panel Report

A High Level Panel on Humanitarian Cash Transfers, which I chaired, has concluded that much more humanitarian aid should be provided as cash, rather than as vouchers or in-kind; and that this change should be used to bring about broader reforms of humanitarian aid. Read the full post »

Here’s a simple way to help refugees: give them cash

Rather than giving refugees food, shelter, water and medical care, it is often better to give them cash. Read the full post »

On World Humanitarian Day: Could We Do Better with Cash?

World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity to celebrate the courage of humanitarian workers, but also to think about how to improve the system. I am chairing a High Level Panel looking at the role of cash transfers in humanitarian aid.

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Rows of people in suits, many looking at blackberries or laptops, in the UN Conference Centre

Addis: A Good First Step, but a Terrible Last Word, for 2015

The Financing for Development Conference in July 2015 in Addis Ababa was never going to solve all the world’s development problems. The policy framework is pretty good, but will only be important if government, companies and organisations now take specific actions. Read the full post »
Ethiopian orthodox church with sunrays in Addis Ababa at dawn

What to expect from the Addis Ababa Financing for Development conference

This article appeared in The Guardian Development Professionals Network on Friday 10 July, 2015.  Development economist Owen Barder gives an insight into what the coming five days of plenaries, roundtables and side events will be all about

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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 »
A pair of headphones wrapped around the globe

Podcasts are “back” – so what are you listening to?

Podcasts are back in fashion - here is why, and a list of what I am listening to. 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 »
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 »
A crystal ball, with a line graph in it.

The development agency of the future

The International Development Committee of the British House of Commons has asked: Does a stand-alone Department for International Development have a long-term future? In a memorandum submitted to the Committee in evidence, Alex Evans and I argue that it should. Read the full post »