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Category Archives: Organizational behavior

Has NGO advertising gone too far?

by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk.

Over the last couple of years, we have seen a lot of criticism of how international NGOs advertise and fundraise. There’s a new term – “poverty porn” – and a new emphasis on thinking seriously about the true impact of advertising.

I’ve heard three main arguments against oversimplified NGO advertising…

25 Comments

The Negative Highway

UPDATE 1:30PM: More “Breezewood”s! See end of post

UPDATE 11:15am March 9: the Negative Subway (see end of post)

I used to drive often from Washington DC to Ohio and would pass fuming through  Breezewood PA, victim of a hijacking. Where there should have been a simple interchange of Interstates 70 and 76, the locals had conspired with the road builders to dump you on a short stretch of a stoplight-heavy road, PA State Highway 30,…

Also posted in Field notes, Grand plans and aid targets | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments

The US has put its boot on the scale

by Natasha Iskander, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, NYU. 10:42 pm Saturday February 5. Professor Iskander is Egyptian-American and works on development in the Middle East and North Africa.

The millions of protestors have been clear: “The people want the fall of the regime! Mubarak leave!”  The responses of the US to unambiguous calls from the Egyptian people for the right to determine their own future have not only been deeply condescending, but also represent a…

Also posted in Democracy and freedom | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Will the first Charter City be in Honduras?

A reader pointed us to the news that the Honduras is deliberating whether to pass legislation this month that would pave the way for the first “Charter City” to be created on Honduran soil by 2012.

The radical brainchild of Stanford economist Paul Romer, the Charter Cities concept is based on the idea that good rules make good societies. Accordingly, poor countries should be able to galvanize their own development by building foreign-financed…

Also posted in In the news | Tagged , , | 28 Comments

No coups please, Professor Collier

UPDATE 10:30AM 1/15: Chris Blattman has a thoughtful response to my blog. The Complexity tribe is still upset that I didn’t do their sacred idea of Complexity justice.

On the Guardian Global Development blog, I tell Paul Collier that he’s crazy to recommend a coup in Cote d’Ivoire. But the use of complexity theory allows me to be very nice about it.

Also posted in Badvocacy and celebs, In the news, Meta | Tagged , | 24 Comments

Sudan isn’t the only one: the Artificial States problem

In an article newly published in the Journal of the European Economic Association ( just in time for the South Sudan referendum!),  Alberto Alesina, Janina Matuszeski and I look at the general problem of “artificial states.” (Ungated working paper here.)

We have one conventional and one unconventional definition of artificial states, both of them continuous measures of “artificiality.” The conventional one measures the frequency of ethnic groups split in two by a…

Also posted in Academic research | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

After Sudan, should more African borders be redrawn?

Story in today’s NYT

Also posted in In the news, Maps | Tagged , | 16 Comments

Killing microfinance to say they saved the poor

Vivek Nemana is an NYU graduate student and a student worker at DRI.

It’s official: Indian politicians have agreed to regulate the private microfinance sector…by choking it in a tangle of bureaucracy and corruption.

As everyone from David Roodman (on this blog) to the Cambridge randomistas (in the FT) has been saying, Indian microfinance needs reform, not a roundhouse kick to the face. But now the state of Andhra Pradesh…

Also posted in Aid debates, Financing development, In the news | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Understanding India’s Microcredit Crisis

by David Roodman, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development

As Vivek Nemana reported here, the Indian microcredit industry has pitched into what appears to be a replay of the American subprime debacle. I just spent a week in India, talking to nearly everyone. I learned there were so many complexities—history, politicsinstitutional rivalries— that to just view events through the foreign lens of the subprime crisis is…actually about right.

The microcredit industry…

Also posted in Financing development, In the news | 9 Comments

Living in Emergency

by Pierluigi Musarò, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Bologna at Forli, and a visiting scholar at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge

A few months ago I organized a conference in Bologna on the topic of humanitarian emergencies and communication. I invited the communication manager of one of Italy’s most famous and most influential NGOs, called Emergency. He accepted but told me, “You should know that we do not deal with…

Also posted in Language | 10 Comments