WIDERAngle October 2012 issue

WIDERANGLE / Oct 2012

ReCom highlights in the WIDERAngle October issue.

What Can Experiments Tell Us About How to Improve Governance?
Rachel M. Gisselquist and Miguel Niño-Zarazúa

Over the past decade, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have become a staple of research in development economics. Proponents of RCTs have advocated for their use as the best means of identifying ‘what works’ in development, while sceptics voice strong concerns about their growing hegemony in the field. Last year, two influential books, Karlan and Appel’s More Than Good Intentions, and Banerjee and Duflo’s Poor Economics, summarized what RCTs can tell us about how to reduce global poverty. Sceptics such as Angus Deaton and Martin Ravallion point out that RCTs, even if well designed, are not the ‘gold standard’ to policy evaluation as they often rely on small samples (and small pilot interventions) that cannot tell us much about whether a policy would work if scaled up at national level, or transferred to different socioeconomic and political conditions. Full article.

Aid, Growth, and Jobs

How can aid help lift the working poor out of poverty?

One of the most pressing goals of development aid is the alleviation of poverty. In the WIDER working paper ‘Aid, Growth, and Jobs’ Gary Fields suggests that one key way in which poverty reduction can be achieved is by helping the working poor to earn more in the labour market. He argues that this method of poverty reduction is underemphasized and outlines a number of policy options that should be considered by those wishing to adopt it. Full Article.

Aid Effectiveness: Opening the Black Box

Improving health and increasing investment are the main channels through which foreign aid increases growth.

The causal links between aid and development have for a long time been seen as a 'black box'. Whereas it seems clear that the input has an effect on development, we still do not understand the mechanisms through which aid contributes to development. Donors are currently directing large amounts of aid towards the Millennium Development Goals which target improvements in poverty reduction, primary education, and health. However, we do not fully understand how these goals relate to the broader aims of aid, spurring growth and development. In the WIDER working paper 'Aid Effectiveness: Opening the Black Box’ Channing Arndt, Sam Jones and Finn Tarp (AJT) aim to address this gap in our understanding. Full article.

Research Communication: Why Doesn’t Research Turn Into Policy?
Carl-Gustav Lindén

At the recent UNU-WIDER research conference on development and climate change, the communications team took the opportunity to ask participants visiting us here in Helsinki for their views on how research turns into policy. We heard many interesting perspectives and they are presented here in this video. For instance, one response was that researchers have actually been very effective in informing policy makers on the risks of climate change and they do have a strong sense of social responsibility. Full article.

WIDER Annual Lecture 16: Folk and the Formula—Pathways to Capable States

The 16th WIDER Annual Lecture was delivered by Professor Lant Pritchett, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, on Thursday 27 September 2012 from 15.00-17.00 in Helsinki, Finland (GMT+2). Full article.