Angus Deaton, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University, talks about his book, The Great Escape, which brings together his research into health, well-being, and economic development. In his book, Professor Deaton talks about the great progress that is being made in health and well-being, but also the problem of inequality within and between nations. The book finishes with a robust critique of the aid business, leading Professor Deaton to recommend that industrialised countries should spend money for, but not in, developing countries. In the podcast, I discuss with Professor Deaton the difference between happiness and well-being, the drivers of improved health around the world, and the implications of inequality of material well-being
Author Archives: Owen Barder
This joint post with Petra Krylová first appeared on Views from the Center For the last decade, we have talked a lot of talk about new development partnerships; but have we walked the walk? The Center for Global Development’s Commitment to Development Index, now in its eleventh year, gauges whether wealthy countries are pursuing development-friendly policies–not just on aid but on many other things which matter for development. We recently announced the 2013 results here. After 11 years of calculating the index we can ask the question: have the policies of rich countries got better over time? The answer: Yes, but less than you would think.
There is an article in the Washington Post about humanitarian relief in the Philippines by Vij Ramachandran and me. (For those who quaintly enjoy their news etched on to dead trees, this will appear in the paper on Sunday, apparently.) We argue that the aid effort could be significantly improved by the use of technology and transparency. The full text of the article is below. Wally Santana/Associated Press – Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan plead with military for water as they wait for an evacuation flight in the central Philippines on Nov.
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. November 11, 2013 9:48 pm Co-ordinate aid using existing systems From Mr Owen Barder and others. Relief arrives after a typhoon in 2010 Sir, International relief is urgently needed in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, and we hope that it will be provided generously and quickly. We also hope that it will be provided effectively: sadly, experience of previous humanitarian disasters is that aid is often badly targeted, such that some efforts are duplicated while other priorities are neglected.
It is not very hard (but it is much harder than it should be) to set yourself up to be able to receive encrypted emails. I am using Mailvelope which adds encryption to Gmail. The idea is that you publish a key (mine is here) which other people can use to encrypt a message to you; because you are the only person with the other half of the key, only you can decode the message. I think it would be a good idea for most people to use encryption most of the time. This makes it less likely that information is accidentally released (such as your bank account details) and also makes it harder for the state (or other people’s states) to intercept our communications
We cycled from Hackney to Cambridge yesterday. Of the 105km, the first 15km or so were through the suburbs (including Chigwell, where footballers buy their mansions). From there, our friend Ian showed us a route through beautiful, wide-open country spaces and little Essex villages. The village of Arkesden in Essex We stopped for coffee at The White Horse in Hatfield Heath – the village tea rooms nearby were also crowded with cyclists.
I wouldn’t think it would be necessary to explain to people why we want to pursue value for money in global health, but a couple of conversations recently have made me realise that we do. Here is a nice video by my CGD colleagues about our new report on value for money at the Global Fund.
According to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria we can be the generation to defeat the three pandemics. As the Global Fund seeks new funding for the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, Charlize Theron, Bono, Bill Gates, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and others call on world leaders to be the generation to defeat the three pandemics. “The moment is right now” says Charlize Theron, speaking of the critical turning point of progress through science, dropping infection rates and expanded efforts to prevent and treat the three pandemics. Of course, ours is not the first generation to have ambitions to eliminate poverty and hunger, though admittedly this is a narrower goal. The world is at an auspicious moment
Fifty years ago today, on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and gave his famous speech: I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” … I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Within the United States, much (but not all) of that dream has been realized. But I am struck today by how much we still need a global civil rights movement. Branko Milanović, a brilliant economist at the World Bank, looked a few years ago at individual data on the earnings of people all over the world and asked: how much of the difference in people’s incomes can be explained by the country in which they live? According to Branko, country of residence explains 59% of the difference of real income between any two people selected at random
Something weird has happened to my website – my normal layout, which is designed to work well on mobile phones and tablets as well as on a normal computer, is causing the website to crash. I’ve switched to the default layout for now, which looks a little strange; and I will try to fix it as soon as possible. The disadvantage of being my own webmaster is that I can’t always drop everything if something goes wrong. Normal service will be resumed in due course. UPDATE – I have done some housekeeping
Here is some excellent news for Brits who travel often to developing countries. One of the irritations of frequent travel is the ludicrous roaming charges imposed by mobile phone companies (file under #FirstWorldProblems). It is expensive to receive calls on your British mobile number when your travelling (because you have to pay the international call rate on the incoming call) as well as to make calls or send or receive texts. The data costs when roaming are also extortionate. Roaming charges within Europe are beginning to come down, thanks mainly to the EU, but it still costs an arm and a leg to use a British mobile in the United States or in most developing countries. My usual work-around has been to use local Pay-As-You-Go SIM cards and leave my UK mobile switched off, so that it diverts to voicemail
A Season in the Congo has just two more weeks to run at the Young Vic here in London.* This is the first English production of Aimé Césaire’s play about Patrice Lumumba, and his overthrow and murder in 1960. Though it was written before I was born, it deals with issues such as economic colonialism and regime change which feel just as contemporary and relevant today. The Young Vic revival is directed by Joe Wright, who directed Atonement, Anna Karenina and Pride and Prejudice. The staging and music cleverly evoke the atmosphere of the bars, brothels and streets of Kinshasa from which we see the politics; while a likembe player plays a Brechtian voice of the people of the Congo. The villains of the piece are a gang of Western bankers, represented by life-sized puppets, who plan the secession of Katanga, the centre of Congo’s mineral wealth
This post first appeared on Views from the Center at the Center for Global Development. If you have comments, please join the discussion there. The World Bank President Jim Kim has said that the next frontier for the World Bank is to ‘help to advance a science of delivery’. And over on the ODI blog, the new Director Kevin Watkins praises Jim Kim for asking the right question but says the approach does not give sufficient weight to politics. Speaking in Seattle recently I was challenged about my off-hand remark that ‘there is no science of delivery’, so I was relieved to see Kevin Watkins independently raising questions about the idea.