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May 12, 2017 (links edition #14)

A rich set of papers on resilience-related materials, including some good work around the pitfalls and potential of disaster insurance, reflections on Somalia’s famines, various forced displacement papers, and a risk event at ODI (ending today).

Payouts for Perils: How Insurance Can Radically Improve Emergency Aid, Payouts for Peril Working Group, April 2017, Center for Global Development Brief

The Somalia Conference must avert the threat of famine, 10th May 2017, Sara Pantuliano, Overseas Development Institute blog

Satellite images trigger payouts for Kenyan farmers in grip of drought, 25th April 2017, Sophie Eastaugh,

The new deal in Somalia: An independent review of the Somali Compact, 2014-2016 (Executive Summary), April 2017, Marcus Manuel, Alastair McKechnie, Gregory Wilson and Rima das Pradhan-Blach, Overseas Development Institute

The Economics of Forced Displacement: An Introduction, April 2017, Paolo Verme, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8038

Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System – Alexander Betts and Paul Collier (book review), 9th May 2017, Simon Maxwell (blog)

Future Development Agencies Conference: Resilience in an age of risk, 11-12 May 2017, London, Overseas Development Institute.


More on the politics, governance and redistribution of social protection, and a new blog on inequality by Branko Milanovic.

The politics of scaling up social protection in Kenya, Fredrick O. Wanyama and Anna McCord, May 2017, ESID Working Paper No. 87

Who Serves the Poor? Surveying Civil Servants in the Developing World, May 2017, Daniel Rogger, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8051

Strengthening governance is top-of-mind for opinion leaders in developing countries, 25th April 2017, Jing Guo,

Is there enough redistribution?, 9th May 2017, Maya Eden, Brookings Institution blog

It’s time to decide what being middle class in Africa really means, 30th April 2017, Henning Melber,

The higher the inequality, the more likely we are to move away from democracy, 2nd May 2017, Branko Milanovic,


A generous dose of labor, jobs, youth and skills materials, including new research on wage vs self-employment (graduation) in Africa.

Everything We Knew About Sweatshops Was Wrong, 27th April 2017, Christopher Blattman and Stefan Dercon,

Proposal to Accelerate Social Mobility: Incentivizing Greater Private Investment in the Skill Development of 21st Century Workers, Colin Bradford and Roger Burkhardt, Brookings Institution Policy Brief

Reengaging New York City’s Disconnected Youth Through Work: Implementation and Early Impacts of the Young Adult Internship Program, April 2017, Melanie Skemer, Arielle Sherman, Sonya Williams, and Danielle Cummings, OPRE Report April 2017-22 (Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

They Got Mad Skills: The Effects of Training on Youth Employability and Resilience to the Ebola Shock, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8036

The Influence of Non-Cognitive Skills on Wages within and between Firms Evidence from Bangladesh’s Formal Sector, May 2017, Shinsaku Nomura and Samik Adhikari, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8053

Immigration Restrictions as Active Labor Market Policy: Evidence from the Mexican Bracero Exclusion, Michael Clemens, Ethan G. Lewis, and Hannah Postel, Center for Global Development Working Paper 451

The Bilateral Relationship between Depressive Symptoms and Employment Status, Melisa Bubonya Deborah A. Cobb-Clark and David Ribar, IZA Discussion Paper 10653

The “Discouraged Worker Effect” in public works programs: Evidence from the MGNREGA in India, Sudha Narayanan, Upasak Das, Yanyan Liu and Christopher B. Barrett, April 2017, IFPRI Discussion Paper 01633


A wave of food and nutrition papers, ranging from market volatility to structural transformation, from child stunting to comparative performance of food and cash-based assistance.

Precarious Lives: Or Why it’s Vital to Protect the Right to Food in the Face of Market Volatility, E. Wilson and Patta Scott Villiers, Institute of Development Studies (

Precarious lives, or why it’s vital to protect the right to food in the face of market volatility (summary), May 2017, IDS-Oxfam

Child Undernutrition in Pakistan What Do We Know?, May 2017, Dhushyanth Raju and Ritika D’Souza, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8049

Nutrition Transition and the Structure of Global Food Demand, Christophe Gouel and Houssein Guimbard, April 2017, IFPRI Discussion Paper 01631

Revisiting the Effect of Food Aid on Conflict: A Methodological Caution, April 2017, Paul Christian and Christopher B. Barrett, Cornell Dyson School

An experiment on cash and in-kind transfers with application to food assistance programs, April 2017, Jayson L. Lusk and Amanda Weaver, Food Policy Volume 68 Pages 186-192


Some thought-provoking materials on poverty and targeting, with Ravallion tilting toward UBI, a paper on targeting in-kind transfers (fertilizers), a proposal for a world clock tracking poverty, and an inspiring piece for the poorest of the poor – the homeless.

Straw men in the debate on basic income versus targeting, 5th May 2017, Martin Ravallion,

Improving the Targeting of Fertilizer Subsidy Programs in Africa South of the Sahara Perspectives from the Ghanaian Experience, Nazaire Houssou Collins Asante-Addo and Kwaw S. Andam, IFPRI Discussion Paper 01622

Poverty and Migration in the Digital Age: Experimental Evidence on Mobile Banking in Bangladesh, 26th April 2017, Jean Lee, Jonathan Morduch, Saravana Ravindran, Abu Shonchoy and Hassan Zaman,

Making everyone count: A clock to track world poverty in real time, 10th May 2017, Homi Kharas and Wolfgang Fengler, Brookings Institution blog

Homelessness Is a Solvable Problem, 6th April 2017, Mary K. Cunningham, Sarah Gillespie and Alexandra Tilsley, Urban Institute


Two papers on social and empowerment effects of cash transfers and livelihood interventions in Zambia and Myanmar.

Cash for Women’s Empowerment? A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Program, July 2017, Juan Bonilla, Rosa Castro Zarzur, Sudhanshu Handa, Claire Nowlin, Amber Peterman, Hannah Ring and David Seidenfeld, World Development Volume 95 Pages 55-72

Documenting Myanmar’s Social Transformation Insights from Six Rounds of Research on Livelihoods and Social Change in Rural Communities, May 2017, Samuel Pursch, Andrea Woodhouse, Michael Woolcock, Matthew Zurstrassen, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8055


Finally, a couple of big picture papers on development, one taking stock of the Doing Development Differently movement and another on the perennial bridge with the humanitarian space.

How far has DFID got in implementing ‘Doing Development Differently’ ideas on the ground?, Duncan Green,

Bridging the Humanitarian-Development Divide: Three Priorities from Three Global Leaders, 1st January 2017, Janeen Madan,


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