Global Development Institute Blog

Global Development Institute Blog

We’re the Global Development Institute at The University of Manchester: where critical thinking meets social justice.

Positive Deviance: A Data-Powered Approach to the Covid-19 Response

Positive Deviance: A Data-Powered Approach to the Covid-19 Response

Richard Heeks, Professor of Development Informatics, Global Development Institute and Basma Albanna, Researcher, Global Development Institute

Nations around the world are struggling with their response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, they seek guidance on what works best in terms of preventive measures, treatments, and public health, economic and other policies. Can we use the novel approach of data-powered positive deviance to improve the guidance being offered? read more…

In conversation: Seth Schindler & Tom Gillespie on deindustrialisation in the Global South

In conversation: Seth Schindler & Tom Gillespie on deindustrialisation in the Global South

In this episode, Seth Schindler & Tom Gillespie discuss their new research on deindustrialisation in the cities of the Global South. Seth and Tom have recently published an article on ‘Deindustrialization in cities of the Global South’ with Nicola Banks, Mustafa Kemal Bayırbağ, Himanshu Burte, J. Miguel Kanai & Neha Sami which uses case studies from Argentina, India, Tanzania and Turkey to show the variegated nature of deindustrialisation beyond the North Atlantic. read more…

After the immediate coronavirus crisis: 3 scenarios for global development

After the immediate coronavirus crisis: 3 scenarios for global development

David Hulme, Professor of Development Studies, Global Development Institute and Rory Horner, Senior Lecturer in Globalisation and Political Economy, Global Development Institute.  First published in the Global Policy Journal

Abstract

We outline three scenarios for how the world might look once the initial phase of the immediate Covid-19 crisis has passed.

  • An ugly scenario of global meltdown
  • A bad scenario of a return to the pre-Covid-19 state of climate breakdown and considerable inequality
  • A good scenario of a transition towards global sustainable development

Rather than make predictions, we emphasise that a considerable challenge is present to increase the likelihood of the third, so that the most desirable scenario will prevail.

Policy implications:

  • Now is the time to think about the future of global development
  • Returning to the bad scenario is possible, but the challenge is to ‘not waste the crisis’ and aim for transformation in economic, social and political institutions and norms
  • Good global development requires commitments to greater domestic inclusion, as well as stronger international cooperation not just in health, but also related to climate change and addressing global inequality.

read more…

Protecting Gig Workers During Covid-19: What Platforms Must Do

Protecting Gig Workers During Covid-19: What Platforms Must Do

The estimated 50 million gig workers worldwide have been particularly hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.  How are their platforms responding, and what more should platforms do?

Reports indicate half of gig workers have lost their jobs. Those still working perform functions essential to society, yet they have lost two-thirds of their income on average.  Many face the impossible choice between destitution and infection, as summed up by one worker: “either I’m starving or I’m dying of coronavirus”. read more…

Launching the Data Powered Positive Deviance Initiative

Launching the Data Powered Positive Deviance Initiative

For almost a decade, development organizations have used digital human behavioral data, or “digital crumbs,” to gauge responses to the increasingly complex development challenges of the 21st century. Large quantities of data generated from social media interactions, financial transactions, or mobile phone usage allow for insights into people’s behaviors, movements, and choices. When analyzing such data, the common practice has been to focus on the aggregate — the collective behavior of individuals and groups — while discarding extreme observations, or outliers. In cases where outliers are analyzed, the focus is typically on negative outliers such as crime hotspots or high deforestation areas. read more…

So, you’re a social science research student – what does Covid-19 mean for you?

So, you’re a social science research student – what does Covid-19 mean for you?

Covid-19 is affecting all of us, but in varying ways. It helps to map some of these diverse effects – and possible responses – for a particular group that we’re part of or support: social science research students. Because Covid-19 is having such far-reaching effects on society, both short- and longer-term, many such students are having to ask themselves how they should, or could, adapt their work. This is especially for students in development-related fields.

Here are some things to consider. A premise of these broad suggestions is that different students will face varying implications of the current crisis, so we encourage you to discuss this with your advisor, mentors, or peers. read more…

Who will survive the coronavirus in Indonesia? 

Who will survive the coronavirus in Indonesia? 

Gindo Tampubolon, Lecturer in Poverty, Global Development Institute

The pandemic of novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has infected unwitting hosts all around the world. Some estimate suggests up to three in four of a population can be infected with about 4% of those infected contracting a severe level of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), and of those about 1% succumb to death. By the end of March 2020, nearly 30,000 people have died globally. The pandemic is still spreading across countries and within countries. If alarming news from developed countries has dominated the wireless thus far, that from developing countries such as Indonesia is not far behind. And coronavirus can have a catastrophic impact on an already unequal society. read more…

Dealing with Covid-19 in the towns and cities of the global South

Dealing with Covid-19 in the towns and cities of the global South

Diana Mitlin, Professor of Global Urbanism, Global Development Institute

The global spread of Covid-19 poses particular risks for the one billion people living in informal urban settlements in the global South. A range of factors make transition of the virus more likely and strategies to tackle it extremely difficult to implement.

Despite these challenges, this is an opportunity to forge new partnerships between agencies that – if they work together – can reach the populations in need. read more…

COVID-19 pandemic brings into sharp relief the risks faced by South African gig workers

COVID-19 pandemic brings into sharp relief the risks faced by South African gig workers

The Fairwork Project has launched its second round of yearly ratings for digital platforms in South Africa, which highlight the precarious nature of work in the gig economy

South Africa’s has recently declared a “national state of disaster” because of coronavirus. This will especially impact the most vulnerable groups in the country. That includes those in casual or insecure employment who face two possibilities in the reality of social distancing: loss of income, or ongoing exposure to the virus through the front-line nature of their work. Today the Fairwork Project is releasing a set of scores which evaluate gig economy platforms such as Uber, SweepSouth, and OrderIn against a set of fair work standards. In the current circumstances, their findings about the situation of gig workers in South Africa are more relevant than ever. read more…

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