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June 2011

After Japan’s earthquake: what changed?

Kyoko Takahashi's picture

March 11, 2011. This day became an unforgettable day for Japanese people. A massive earthquake and tsunami left more than 15,000 people dead, and over 7,000 people are still missing (as of June 24, 2011).

Since my hometown is in Miyagi prefecture, the area most affected by the disaster, I went back to my hometown and decided to help as a volunteer.

Bucking the trends of the past: Doing Business in the Balkans

The region may have once been defined by the term 'balkanization’ - which refers to the disintegration of a state into smaller, antagonistic parts-but no longer. Recent history has instead taken on a more positive hue-one of increasing cooperation, economic growth and foreign direct investment.  Indeed, South East Europe has been improving business regulations, often in response to circumstances—such as the prospect of joining the EU or as a way of mitigating the effects of the global financial crisis.

Taking Advantage of Russia’s Resource Windfall

Grzegorz W. Kolodko's picture

If the nation which has bestowed to the civilization such giants as Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, Tolstoy and Bulgakov could manage its economy as splendidly and robustly as its culture, Russia would be doing just great! Unfortunately, it’s not the case. The resource curse is affecting the economy in a negative way and even more seriously than certain counterproductive habits and mental inertia from the old times of statist, centrally planned economy.  

I’m afraid there is not much time left for Russia. If it wants to catch up with the advanced world – and become a true member of the G8 group of developed countries –  it must use wisely for investment in restructuring and diversification of its economy the windfall revenue from exploitation of vast natural resources. Otherwise, the process of deindustrialization without offsetting by the nowadays service sector will continue and this great country – with huge potential for fast, durable, and sustainable development – will miss the chance to become one of the leaders of world economy. This decade will decide the fate of Russia for the whole 21st century. And the time runs fast. 

Cleaning Up with Small-Scale Sanitation

Julia Bucknall's picture

One of the most repulsive moments in cinematic history is the outhouse scene in the Oscar-winning films SlumdogMillionaire. The hero, Jamal, is trapped in an outhouse when his favorite celebrity lands nearby in a helicopter. The only way to see his hero is to jump into the excrement. Happily, he gets to see the star and get an autographed photo: nothing parts a crowd like a filth-covered child.

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Research for Development
Rethinking African Governance and Development

“This article draws together the main strands of argument being developed by the Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP), as reflected in this IDS Bulletin special issue. The central question is what kinds of governance arrangements work better to support the provision of the public goods that are essential to sustained and inclusive development in Africa. Evidence at local, sectoral and national levels is pointing to the overall conclusion that what works is often a ‘practical hybrid’, combining authoritative coordination with local problem-solving and constructive borrowing from local cultural repertoires. Consistent with the general idea of ‘going with the grain’, we find that the most likely source of the necessary vertical discipline is a developmental form of neo-patrimonialism, not ‘good governance’, as currently conceived. Similarly, local collective action to address bottlenecks in public goods provision is seldom enhanced by standard donor and NGO approaches to citizen or client empowerment.” READ MORE

There is no good time for portfolio budgeting

Ivor Beazley's picture

Haven’t we been here before? Getting budgets to more perfectly reflect the policy priorities of government has long been the holy grail of budgeting in the public sector, but the reality of government budgeting is messy compromise. If the history of various countries efforts to promote policy coherence shows one thing clearly it is that the budget is the wrong tool to achieve this. Why is this and how can governments achieve greater coherence in support of higher level policy goals? 

The hybrid entrepreneur

Michael Jarvis's picture

Can social entrepreneurs forge a more productive collaboration with corporations that yield development and business benefits? Bill Drayton and Valeria Budinich suggest that they can, as detailed in their article in Harvard Business Review. They introduce the concept of hybrid value chains (HVCs) based around four key criteria – that they create real economic as well as social value, have the potential to go to scale across borders, are profitable and hence sustainable, and offer a basis for new competition.

Working Papers are NOT Working.

Berk Ozler's picture

In research, as in life, first impressions matter a lot. Most sensible people don’t go on a first date disheveled, wearing sweatpants and their favorite raggedy hoodie from their alma mater, but rather wait to break those out well into a relationship. Working papers are the research equivalent of sweatshirts with pizza stains on them, but we wear them on our first date with our audience.

Improving Slums: Stories from Sao Paulo

Written by Fernando Serpone Bueno and Veridiana Sedeh, São Paulo

SÃO PAULO – Seventh largest among the world's metropolises and the linchpin of Brazil's booming economy, São Paulo presents a globally relevant case study of stepped-up efforts — but continued deep challenges — if cities are to correct the deep poverty and environmental perils of massive slum settlements.

Favela in BrazilClose to a third of São Paulo's 11 million people — in a metropolitan region of almost 20 million — live in slum-like conditions. There are some 1,600 favelas (private or public lands that began as squatter settlements), 1,100 "irregular" land subdivisions (developed without legally recognized land titles), and 1,900 cortiços (tenement houses, usually overcrowded and in precarious state of repair).


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