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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Laura in NYT debate on Can Aid Buy Taliban’s Love?

NYT DEBATE: Can Flood Aid Weaken the Taliban in Pakistan? Or is it more likely that extremist groups will capitalize on the chaos created by the disaster? Laura Freschi’s answer: aid doesn’t help with the Taliban, but give anyway. The idea that flood aid will change Pakistani perceptions about the U.S. in a lasting and[…..]

Posted in Disaster relief, In the news | Tagged , | 1 Comment

From Russia With Color, 1909

This amazing collection of color photographs taken in Russia in 1909-1912 is really unmissable (H/T Mari Kuraishi). The picture is of an autocrat in Uzbekistan. Since then, there has been much progress, in the form of cheap polyester suits for today’s autocrats in Uzbekistan.

Posted in Field notes | Tagged | 1 Comment

Our internal foreign aid program

The US Recovery Act (aka “stimulus package”) has put out this great map of where the money is being spent by Congressional District. As I looked at where the money is being spent in the part of the country pictured (the part I know best), there did not seem to be a lot of rhyme[…..]

Posted in Accountability and transparency, Maps | 12 Comments

David Rieff takes on Hillary’s “new approach” to global health

In a blog post for The New Republic, author David Rieff calls Hillary Clinton’s approach to development naïve, contradictory, and muddled. His post is a response to Clinton’s speech, delivered last week at SAIS, about the administration’s six-year, $63 billion Global Health Initiative. Rieff’s critique rests on three main arguments, all of which will be[…..]

Posted in Global health, Military aid, Organizational behavior | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Response from Mercy Corps on Transparency

Editor’s note: Aid Watch received the following from Mercy Corps in response to a request for comment on Till Bruckner’s post The accidental NGO and USAID transparency test. We have reproduced the Mercy Corps response here in full: Till Bruckner’s posts on NGO accountability raise interesting questions – and it is unfortunate that the discussion has[…..]

Posted in Accountability and transparency | Tagged | 11 Comments

USAID and NGO transparency: When in doubt, hide the data

by Till Bruckner, PhD candidate at the University of Bristol and former Transparency International Georgia aid monitoring coordinator In my last blog post on this website, I claimed that some NGOs had instructed USAID to hide part or all of their project budgets in a FOIA response, and praised others for their openness. Aid Watch subsequently[…..]

Posted in Accountability and transparency | Tagged | 8 Comments

Superstition and Development

By Peter T. Leeson, BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at George Mason University. Gypsies believe that the lower half of the human body is invisibly polluted, that supernatural defilement is supernaturally contagious, and that non-Gypsies are spiritually toxic. Far from irrational, these superstitions are central to Gypsies’ system of social order. Gypsies can’t[…..]

Posted in Academic research, History | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Aid Watch addresses an unexpected embarrassing problem

We’ve noticed a strange phenomenon on Aid Watch: our April 10, 2010 post Famine Africa stereotype porn shows no letup has also shown the least letup of any of our posts, showing up with traffic day after day. It is now the fourth most popular post of all time on Aid Watch. I was rather[…..]

Posted in Meta | 15 Comments

The Ground Zero mosque and cognitive biases

Among the many other things involved in this controversy, stereotypes of Muslims are not exactly helping. As this blog is (excessively)  fond of arguing, ethnic stereotypes are partly fueled by an obscure cognitive bias known as Reversing Conditional Probabilities. As a long ago Aid Watch post argued (sorry for indulging in self-quotation, but hey it’s August, time for reruns):[…..]

Posted in Cognitive biases | 17 Comments

World Vision responds on transparency

Editor’s note: we are posting the following note received in its entirety from World Vision. World Vision Statement In response to the Aid Watch post: The Accidental NGO and USAID Transparency Test World Vision has investigated allegations posted on August 18, 2010 by Till Bruckner, a guest blogger.  The blog post charges WV and other NGOs[…..]

Posted in Accountability and transparency | Tagged | 14 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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