This week a breaking story in the UK focused on how unemployed jobseekers are being forced to complete bogus psychometric tests designed by the government’s Behavioural Insights Team (commonly known as the “nudge” unit). The story raises important issues for ethical experimentation which are very pertinent for aid efforts. The Guardian reported the story as follows: […]

The team behind the Atlas of Economic Complexity (see my post on this here) have come up with a fascinating network-based approach for analysing the global aid system. As they put it: International development is a complex global goal that faces massive coordination barriers. The difference in income between rich and poor has expanded over […]

This is a guest post by David Hales, a fellow associate of the new complexity think-tank, Synthesis. David specialises in computational social science and here he provides a thought-provoking response to the rise in big data, and some of the more outlandish claims made about it. For a good example of the latter, see Chris […]

Innovation is popular in aid at the moment, so much so that there is a steady spate of articles which range from trashing its potential contribution to development through to challenging Western, donor, countries’ assumed roles as the ‘providers’ of innovation. In this post I want to argue that there is a middle  ground between […]

Earlier this month, Nature published a piece by Daniel Sarewitz on emerging challenges faced in science and research, which has some useful lessons for the aid system. The greatest threat to science is not  due to the usual suspects of “inadequate funding, misconduct, political interference”, etc, etc. Instead, according to Daniel Sarewitz, the problem is more […]

This is the text of an article in the Washington Post by Dominic Basulto about last week’s events in the financial markets. Great stuff. When news first broke Thursday that JPMorgan’s credit derivatives portfolio had sustained a loss of $2 billion, and potentially as much as $5 billion, on trades gone awry, there was an […]