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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Aid Watch blog ends; New work on development begins

Today, after two years and four months, we end the experiment that was the Aid Watch blog.

We think the experiment was a success. We’ve had a great time blogging here. Thank you all for reading and writing back, and to our wonderful guest bloggers, for helping to make Aid Watch a source for way-outside-the-Beltway commentary on aid. Your response continues to exceed our expectations.

Some of you may be surprised. This was not a…

Posted in Meta | 83 Comments

From Hell to Prosperity

A graphic showing striking disparities income among religions in America, from the NYT Magazine:

Bill switched from childhood Methodist to adult Episcopalian in an attempt to boost income. Did that likely work?

Barro and McCleary 2006 argue the relationship goes from income to religiosity (as measured by church attendance, personal prayer, and belief in hell and the afterlife). At least for the Protestant denominations, the ones on the left mostly feature more religiosity…

Posted in Data and statistics, In the news | 19 Comments

Poverty: Is there an app for that?

by Tate Watkins. Tate is a research associate at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.

Last week the World Bank issued a announced an upcoming event called Random Hacks of Kindness. Tech developers will gather at locations around the world to try to “create open solutions that can save lives and alleviate suffering.” Random Hacks of Kindness began in 2009 as a partnership between the World Bank, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and NASA. Its goal

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, In the news | 21 Comments

Who should be the next IMF chief?

Even if the serious charges against IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn are proven false, the IMF will likely be in need of a new leader.

According to unwritten agreement, the IMF has always been headed by a European, just as the president of the World Bank has always been American.

Some (mainly Europeans, funnily enough) argue that the IMF needs a European leader now more than ever, because the biggest issues the IMF currently…

Posted in In the news | 11 Comments

Development Social Science in medical journals: diagnosis is caveat emptor

Aid Watch has complained before about shaky social science analysis or shaky numbers published in medical journals, which were then featured in major news stories. We questioned creative data on stillbirths, a study on health aid, and another on maternal mortality.

Just this week, yet another medical journal article got headlines for giving us the number of women raped in the DR Congo (standard headline: a rape a minute). The study applied country-wide a 2007 estimate of…

Posted in Academic research | 19 Comments

Economics professors’ favorite economics professors

From a newly published article here.

Before anyone on this list gets too much of a swollen head, note that everyone after the top 4 got between 5 and 10 votes out of 299 professors surveyed (there was another group at 4 votes, including a certain J. S*chs). There also seems to be a sheer name recognition effect over-representing economists that show up in the news media, kind of the same way that Donald…

Posted in Academic research | 10 Comments

Are Lax US Gun Laws Spilling Violence into Mexico?

The question:

Do more guns cause more violence?

The experiment:

We exploit a natural experiment induced by the 2004 expiration of the U.S. federal assault weapons ban to examine how the subsequent exogenous increase in gun supply affected violence in Mexico. The expiration relaxed the permissiveness of gun sales in border states such as Texas and Arizona, but not California, which retained a pre-existing state-level ban.

The results:

Using data from mortality statistics and criminal

Posted in Academic research | 17 Comments

Best and Worst of Official Aid 2011- new release

By Claudia Williamson, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Development Research Institute

Rhetoric on “aid effectiveness” keeps escalating, is there anything to show for it?

The past (almost) two years, Bill and I have been collecting data, combing through that data, and refining the numbers to ‘grade’ aid agencies and assess overall trends in aid practices. We waited until our paper passed peer review to release our findings. Rhetoric versus Reality: The Best and Worst of Aid Agency

Posted in Academic research, Accountability and transparency | 21 Comments

World Bank mustn’t say “democracy,” but “deploy troops” is OK

UPDATE: Wed, May 11: World Bank media chief David Theis responds (see end of comments section below)

I finally read the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report, Conflict, Security, and Development. It shed new light on an earlier discussion I had by email with World Bank Media Chief David Theis last month, which I reproduce here, and then I add a new letter I just sent to Mr. Theis.

To World Bank Media Chief David Theis, April…

Posted in Aid debates, Democracy and freedom | 20 Comments

Saving Private Hayek

UPDATE: 3:30pm links to other reviews (all great) of the Fukuyama review at end of this post

F.A. Hayek continues to be the most mis-characterized economist of all time.  As if Glenn Beck were not doing enough damage, now even someone I greatly respect — Frank Fukuyama– has gotten Hayek wrong yet again. In a review of a new edition of the Constitution of Liberty in the NYT book review, Fukuyama says at the end:

In the end,

Posted in Books and book reviews, Economics principles, Uncategorized | 28 Comments