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Critical visions of development from the Global Development Institute: Uniting the strengths of IDPM and BWPI.

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NUST illuminates participatory upgrading experiences via academic spaces

NUST illuminates participatory upgrading experiences via academic spaces

Months after starting the partnership project on upscaling participatory planning, the Bulawayo partnership has already begun a process of making sure that the community experiences start to filter into the academic space, and vice versa. Recently, the parties gathered in Bulawayo for a community lecture hosted by the National University of Science and Technology’s Faculty of the Built Environment. Communities from the profiled slums were also in attendance. Meanwhile, the citywide profiling exercise has been ongoing, with the parties updating existing profiles while also targetting new slums that have been identified. The community lecture, the theme of which centred on “Planning and Cities Urbanising Informally” focussed on the citywide slum profiling experiences and the implications for these on the current city planning and development processes. read more…

The see-saw effects of inequality

The see-saw effects of inequality

Kunal Sen, Professor of Development Economics, Global Development Institute 

When commentators refer to rising inequality, they mostly mean increased inequality in rich countries like the US. But while national inequality may have increased in some countries, global inequality has decreased significantly over the past 25 years. Professor Kunal Sen explains more.

Consider two workers, one in the Rust Belt state of Wisconsin in the United States and the other in Shanghai, China. The American worker has seen their real wages stagnate for a long time, contributing to large increases in inequality in the US. The Chinese worker has seen their real wages slowly converge to those of the American worker.

Whose disparity should we care most about? That of the American, who has become worse off in relative terms in their own country over time? Or the Chinese worker, who has both grown richer in absolute terms, and whose position has improved as compared to their American counterpart? read more…

A love letter to Manchester: My year at the Global Development Institute

A love letter to Manchester: My year at the Global Development Institute

Hamza M. Arsbi, MSc International Development and CEO of Science League

The University of Manchester is a world-renowned institution with an impressive record, which is why I choose to study my Masters in International Development at its Global Development Institute. However, the city of Manchester itself, still trying to grow beyond its industrial past and compete as an international hub, is still a very underappreciated city. My year at The University of Manchester has taught me so much more than what my course curriculum contained. The city, the University, and its people have given me a transformative experience. read more…

Social Mobility Research in the Global South: What Do We Know? What Do We Need to Know?

Social Mobility Research in the Global South: What Do We Know? What Do We Need to Know?

By Vegard Iversen, Anirudh Krishna and Kunal Sen

In spite of recent and unprecedented poverty reduction, the notion that an individual’s expected level of achievement should be ‘a function only of his effort and not of his circumstances’ remains a distant ideal. While research has added to our understanding of poverty dynamics and of policies to alleviate deprivation, most poverty escapes continue to be marginal and fragile.

When gauged, instead, as steps on a ‘rags to riches’ or social status ladder – and from one generation to the next – it becomes clear that moderate or large individual ascents and the drivers of such more notable achievements, are neither well documented nor particularly well understood.

read more…

MSc Organisational Change and MSc Project Management Students Visit Auto Trader Group

MSc Organisational Change and MSc Project Management Students Visit Auto Trader Group

On 1st December 2017, students on the MSc programmes in Organisational Change and Development and the Management and Implementation of Development Projects visited the Auto Trader Group headquarters in Manchester.  Auto Trader is a large private sector company, listed in the FTSE 250 index, which has undergone a remarkable transformation from a paper-based to a high technology digitally-driven business organisation. The visit, organised as part of the two MScs’ programmes of enhanced activities, provided the students with an opportunity to gain insights into some of the practice-focused people and change management challenges faced by private sector organisations.  We asked two of the MSc programme representatives to reflect on the visit.  read more…

From international development to global development

From international development to global development

By Rory Horner and David Hulme, Global Development Institute 

The study and practice of international development has generally referred to the differences between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries. Growing inequality between developed and developing states during the 19th and 20th centuries presented a clear task; to address the challenges faced by a relatively synonymous poor people living in poor countries.

But for the last 30 years inequality between countries have been steadily reducing, yet our development challenges remain greater than ever. Our analysis of the new geographies of 21st century development (recently published in Development and Change ), highlights the need for a shift away from the idea of ‘international’ development, recognising a new form of ‘global’ development.    read more…

GDI Lecture Series: Political economy approach to collective action, inequality and development with Prof Bill Ferguson

GDI Lecture Series: Political economy approach to collective action, inequality and development with Prof Bill Ferguson

On Wednesday, 29 November, Prof Bill Ferguson, Grinnell College, delivered a lecture entitled ‘a political economy approach to collective action, inequality and development’. This lecture was the Annual Adrian Leftwich Memorial Lecture presented with the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre.

You can watch the livestream below. You can also listen to the podcast below read more…

In Conversation: Professor Bill Ferguson and Dr Pablo Yanguas

In Conversation: Professor Bill Ferguson and Dr Pablo Yanguas


Effective States and Inclusive Development’s Dr Pablo Yanguas engages Grinnell University’s Professor Bill Ferguson in a thought-provoking discussion about the role of economics in both creating and addressing collective action problems. Bill, the Gertrude B. Austin Professor of Economics, delivered this year’s Adrian Leftwich memorial lecture on a Political Economy approach to collective action, inequality and development. Having begun his career as a neighourhood community organiser in Seattle, Bill believes that, “Economics is fundamentally a social science. It’s fundamentally an attempt to understand human behaviour,” and is a strong advocate for rethinking the way the discipline is understood and taught – in order to deepen its contribution to addressing social ills like poverty and inequality. read more…

Development politics lacks a shared language

Development politics lacks a shared language

Pablo Yanguas, Research Associate on Effective States and Inclusive Development, Global Development Institute. 

The fact that I have written a grand total of 7 posts for my own blog in the entirety of 2017 is a testament to the madness that this year has been. Good madness, I must say. None of that Lovecraftian “things-man-was-never-meant-to-see” stuff. But madness anyway. And as I emerge from a cocoon fashioned out of draft chapters and reports, taking up blogging again seems like the perfect New Year’s Resolution for the month of December.

So I will start with my main takeaway from 2017: writing about the politics of development for different audiences is not an easy thing to do. I have always prided myself in being able to talk politics with almost anyone, anywhere. But writing semi-cogently is a different challenge altogether, as this year has shown me with the clarify of a punch to the face. Here are four translation tasks that I have had to deal with, and the realization that has come out of the experience. read more…

In Conversation: Prof Diana Mitlin, Jack Makau and Joseph Muturi

In Conversation: Prof Diana Mitlin, Jack Makau and Joseph Muturi

Prof Diana Mitlin spoke to Jack Makau (Director of Slum Dwellers International in Kenya) and Joseph Muturi (community leader, activist and Coordinator of the Kenyan Slum Dwellers Federation) when they were visiting Manchester to guest lecture on GDI’s innovative “Citizen Led Development” course. They discuss the challenges faced by slum dwellers, such as the lack of secure tenure rights, access to basic services and threat of violent evictions – and how community organising and activism is allowing people living in informal settlements to effect change and make their voices heard. Jack and Joe also talk about building partnerships with city and national government, collaborating with researchers to quantify the ‘poverty penalty’ in Mukuru, and not putting too much hope in politicians.

read more…

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