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Road workers carry water on a road under construction in Nairobi, Kenya January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic - RTSXBVZ
Future Development

Future Development Reads: Populism, public-private partnerships, and aid effectiveness

All eyes will be on the French elections this weekend. Nothing less than the post-World War II liberal order seems to be at stake. In this piece, Robert Keohane, the father of work on neoliberal institutionalism in international relations (Wikipedia’s phrase, not mine), tries to draw links between populism, internationalism, and the end of the Cold War

Also of note, and continuing the theme of infrastructure investments and blending public and private money, is The Economist everyman’s guide to public-private partnerships.

One motivation for pursuing PPPs is clearly to get more value for money from government budgets. So in case you missed the International Monetary Fund fiscal monitor issued during the Spring Meetings, here it is, aptly titled Achieving More with Less.

Of course, finding out whether more is actually achieved, and whether results are sustainable or not, is one of the core issues for development effectiveness. Randomized controlled trials are particularly well suited to answering this kind of question. Here’s a summary of one such trial in Ethiopia that I found particularly surprising. I wonder if the external validity critique holds for this?

This week also marked 100 days of a new U.S. President, with much commentary, mostly settling on “not much has changed so far.” Don’t be fooled, some changes could have huge impact, but whether for good or ill only time will tell.

Have a good weekend.

The Future Development blog informs and stimulates debate on key sustainable development issues within and across all countries.

Now hosted by the Center for Sustainable Development, this blog was originally launched in September 2013 by the World Bank and the Brookings Institution in an effort to hold governments more accountable to poor people and offer solutions to the most prominent development challenges. Continuing this goal, Future Development was re-launched in January 2015 at In the ensuing years, the blog’s scope evolved in parallel with ongoing international policy debates and was formally updated in November 2022 to focus on broader challenges of sustainable development around the world.

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