Impressed by the response to Justin Sandefur’s recent CGD blog entry, I’ve titled this post in an attempt to sex up the topic of government procurement. No need, you say? What’s hotter than one hundred pages of legalese and a bill of quantities detailing asphalt and gravel? The below is for you, and it ends with a request for your help.
CGD Policy Blogs
Your tax dollars bought that bridge, that road, that school. But unless you live in Colombia or the UK, you probably can’t look at the contracts for these things bought on your behalf. My guest on this week’s Wonkcast is Charles Kenny, senior fellow here at CGD and we are discussing his latest work: “Publish What You Buy: The Case for Routine Publication of Government Contracts.”
In the last of a series of three blog posts looking at the implications of complexity theory for development, Owen Barder and Ben Ramalingam look at the implications of complexity for the trend towards results-based management in development cooperation. They argue that is a common mistake to see a contradiction between recognising complexity and focusing on results: on the contrary, complexity provides a powerful reason for pursuing the results agenda, but it has to be done in ways which reflect the context. In the 2012 Kapuscinski lecture Owen argued that economic and political systems can best be thought of as complex adaptive systems, and that development should be understood as an emergent property of those systems. As explained in detail in Ben’s forthcoming book, these interactive systems are made up of adaptive actors, whose actions are a self-organised search for fitness on a shifting landscape. Systems like this undergo change in dynamic, non-linear ways; characterised by explosive surprises and tipping points as well as periods of relative stability. If development arises from the interactions of a dynamic and unpredictable system, you might draw the conclusion that it makes no sense to try to assess or measure the results of particular development interventions. That would be the wrong conclusion to reach. While the complexity of development implies a different way of thinking about evaluation, accountability and results, it also means that the ‘results agenda’ is more important than ever.
Colleagues and friends of CGD:
This week I started leave from CGD for three-plus months, to teach at Williams College. For those of you from the US west coast and outside the United States, Williams is among America’s most selective (and expensive!) small liberal arts colleges. It’s nestled in a tiny town in the Berkshire mountains in western Massachusetts.
In this austere budget climate, generating “value for money” (VFM) is a top concern for global health funding agencies and their donors, who want the biggest bang for their buck in terms of lives saved and diseases controlled. To this end, CGD has convened a working group to help shape the VFM agenda for global health funding agencies, with a particular focus on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Leading these efforts is my guest this week, Amanda Glassman, a senior fellow and director of the global health policy program at the Center for Global Development.
It’s that time of year when again when university students and their professors return to classrooms around the world, and CGD has a wealth of materials to help educators and students interested in development make the most of their studies.
This is a joint post with Heather Lanthorn, a doctoral candidate at Harvard School of Public Health.
In mid-July, amidst the busy global-health month of July, in between the Family Planning summit and the AIDS conference, the near-final draft of the independent evaluation of the Affordable Medicines Facility - Malaria (AMFm) was released.
Can international accountability protect indigenous rights in a charter city?
A Canadian real estate development near the site of Honduras’s proposed charter city has provoked opposition from the local Garífuna community.