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Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Coffee Party Manifesto

The Coffee Party is alarmed that our discourse has been hijacked by Partys named after other Beverages. The Coffee Party is for all the reasonable people, which happens to be correlated with drinking good coffee. Here is our manifesto: The Coffee Party has had the privilege to meet people from many different creeds and races,[…..]

Posted in Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Eyes Wide Shut: Philanthropy Action on the “Rescheduled” Sachs vs. Clemens/Demombynes debate

Tim Ogden at Philanthropy Action issues a petition for the “rescheduled” (quotes in original) Sachs vs. Clemens/Demombynes debate on evaluating Millennium Villages, which was supposed to happen last Wednesday, to be indeed, well, rescheduled. He asks for all of us to be watching whether this indeed happens. Aid Watch is always in favor of more Watching, so[…..]

Posted in Aid debates, Aid policies and approaches, Grand plans and aid targets, In the news | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Physics Envy in Development (even worse than in Finance!)

Andrew Lo and Mark Mueller at MIT have a paper called “WARNING: Physics Envy May Be Hazardous to Your Wealth,” also available as a video.  The takeaway, which is equally relevant to Development as to Finance (the actual topic of the talk),  is that inability to recognize radical UNCERTAINTY is what leads to excessive confidence in mathematical models[…..]

Posted in Big ideas | 15 Comments

Millennium Villages: Moving the goalposts

Here on the blog, we’ve been following the progress of the Millennium Villages Project, a joint effort from the UN and Columbia’s Earth Institute that has introduced a package of development interventions in health, education, agriculture and infrastructure into 14 “clusters” of villages throughout 10 African countries. In response to a critical paper by Michael[…..]

Posted in Grand plans and aid targets, Metrics and evaluation | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Between the Massive Middle and Ivy Elite

UPDATE 9am, Oct. 27: commenter says too rosy a picture of Middle? see end of this post There has been a lot of talk this political season about Ivy League Elitism. My own background—of belonging and yet not quite belonging to the elite— makes me very conflicted. On Monday, I gave a seminar (not for[…..]

Posted in Field notes | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

Is Papua New Guinea the New Niger Delta?

The New York Times reports: In 2014, ExxonMobil is scheduled to start shipping natural gas through a 450-mile pipeline, then on to Japan, China and other markets in East Asia. But the flood of revenue, which is expected to bring Papua New Guinea $30 billion over three decades and to more than double its gross domestic[…..]

Posted in In the news | 12 Comments

The myth of Ethiopia’s “natural” disasters

As Amartya Sen has shown, famines in our times are not true natural disasters, but more often the consequence of bad governments and their bad policies. Revisiting the era of Live Aid for a book review in The New Republic, David Rieff gives evidence of how the Ethiopian famine was framed as a natural disaster[…..]

Posted in Books and book reviews | 21 Comments

The Juan Williams Logic Test Edition

UPDATE: some of my dear satirically-challenged readers did not quite pick up on the ironic tone of this post, so I have made a few changes. Others seemed to be missing the point that I am mocking fallacious logical arguments, so let me just clarify that I am mocking fallacious logical arguments. UPDATE 2: some of you[…..]

Posted in Satire and parodies | Tagged | 26 Comments

Tribute to Center for Global Development (CGD)

Dennis Whittle has a nice post praising CGD. I couldn’t agree more, even when not agreeing on every issue with Nancy Birdsall and the brilliant staff she has hired at CGD. I will always be grateful to Nancy from an intensely personal perspective. She courageously took me in at CGD when I had become persona non grata to the[…..]

Posted in Aid debates | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Yes, critics also appreciate a little sympathy every now and then

From Megan McArdle in a different debate: The rest of her post puts me in mind of the phenomenon that William Easterly has described in development circles:  the recycling of ideas that have failed before, always unveiled with much fanfare, but no real explanation as to why this time is different.  Frankly, it makes me understand[…..]

Posted in Aid debates, Meta | 3 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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