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Monthly Archives: March 2009

ONE Responds to Bono vs. Moyo, Round Two

By Edith Jibunoh, Africa Outreach Manager at ONE At ONE, we agree a vigorous public debate is needed on how best to combat extreme poverty in Africa, but your post suggesting ONE is trying to “discredit” and “misrepresent” Ms. Moyo is untrue and not particularly constructive. As anyone who goes to our website site can[…..]

Posted in Aid debates, Badvocacy and celebs | 13 Comments

Bono vs. Moyo, Round Two

Last week, ONE, the advocacy organization founded by Bono, apparently sent out an email to some of the Africans in their address book. The subject: Dambisa Moyo’s new book Dead Aid, recently released in the US. The plan: to persuade some high profile Africans to provide quotes in support of ONE’s position that Moyo’s ideas[…..]

Posted in Badvocacy and celebs | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

The Unbearable Lightness of Summits

“International action” is something that everyone wants to resolve any major global problem. How well does it work in practice? We gleaned one small insight from Chris Giles’ brilliant article in the FT on the international finance ministers’ get together in advance of the April G 20 summit. The resulting joint communiqué was a meaningless[…..]

Posted in In the news | 3 Comments

Liberty Land Amusement Park

Individual liberty is a precise concept and a powerful ideal. It has an enormous moral appeal – “all men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Jefferson wrote these words even though there was only liberty for propertied[…..]

Posted in Big ideas, Economics principles | 8 Comments

Did U2 Have Africa Celebrate U2?

Not sure what to make of this, so I just state the facts: an African-American record producer arranged to have well-known African singers do U2 songs for this album. U2 obviously had to sign off on an album in which Africa thanks U2 with U2 songs, due to copyright laws, and in fact the producer[…..]

Posted in Badvocacy and celebs | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Response to Owen Barder on UK Budget Support

Owen, thanks for responding to our piece. Open debate is an important way to clarify issues and hold us all accountable for the integrity of our intellectual positions. First off, you criticize us for getting our facts wrong on Ethiopia’s elections. We said: Ethiopia’s autocratic government, which is inexplicably the largest recipient of UK budget[…..]

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Democracy and freedom | 17 Comments

Response to “Why Does British Aid Favor Poor Governments over Poor People”?

By Owen Barder, the Addis Ababa-based director of, an initiative to accelerate poverty reduction by making aid more transparent. Aidinfo is part of Development Initiatives, a UK-based development consultancy. Bill Easterly and Laura Freschi at Aid Watch lay in to British Government aid for giving financial support directly to governments: In 2007, the UK[…..]

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Democracy and freedom, Meta | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Guest bloggers with different points of view

Aid Watch will invite guest bloggers from time to time to represent a variety of points of view about aid. Today, we host Owen Barder, who is the Addis Ababa-based director of, an initiative to accelerate poverty reduction by making aid more transparent. Aidinfo is part of Development Initiatives, a UK-based development consultancy. Owen[…..]

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Why Does British Foreign Aid Prefer Poor Governments Over Poor People?

European donors are moving towards increasing direct budget support to governments of aid-receiving countries. Leading the charge is the UK, which gives the largest percentage of direct budget support of any bilateral or multilateral donor (although the World Bank, the European Commission, the US and France also give substantial budget support). Giving cash directly to[…..]

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Democracy and freedom | Tagged | 13 Comments

“If You Don’t Trust People You Know, It’s Over!”

It would be so much easier for economists and aid workers to sidestep discussions of the role of culture in economic development. It’s so hard to quantify, so slippery to define, and nearly impossible to graph. In this clip from the Development Research Institute’s recent conference, NYU Professor Leonard Wantchekon talks about a cultural challenge[…..]

Posted in Aid policies and approaches | 5 Comments
  • About Aid Watch

    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

    "Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking." - H.L. Mencken

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