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Category Archives: Aid debates

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…

Also posted in Democracy and freedom | 20 Comments

More Tales of Two Tails

The following post is by Dennis Whittle, co-founder of GlobalGiving. Dennis blogs at Pulling for the Underdog.

An eloquent 3 year-old would have been better asking “What the dickens are you talking about?  Who is defining success?  Who says failure is bad, anyway?” – Joe

Earlier I blogged about aid cheerleaders and critics. Each camp argues about the mean outcome of aid rather than the distribution of impact among projects. Both camps agree that some…

Also posted in Metrics and evaluation | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

What if NCAA Basketball Tournament Teams were coached by Development Economists?

Tomorrow night is the next round of March Madness, the annual NCAA tournament that started off with 64 college basketball teams, now reduced to the “Sweet Sixteen” .

It is not widely known that some lower seeded teams in the tournament, who had to play much better teams, desperately sought advice from leading Development Economists.

A Columbia Professor said we already know the successful ingredients for a championship, just get lots of funding for the…

Also posted in Satire and parodies | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

World Vision Super Bowl Shirts: the Final Chapter

Remember back in February when World Vision’s proud announcement that they were sending abroad 100,000 Super Bowl champion T-shirts emblazoned with the name of the losing team, as they have for the last 15 years, provoked aid blogger ire? We’ve been following the controversy—and occasionally piling on joining in—and here’s the latest.

In an email to Aid Watch, World Vision disclosed that total transport and administrative cost per T-shirt…

Also posted in Accountability and transparency, Aid policies and approaches | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Stop! Tom Friedman said something smart, about Arab world, Afghanistan, Pakistan

This blog and this author have given poor Mr. Friedman grief in the past for babbling nonsense. So it’s only fair that we give America’s favorite random idea generator credit when he comes up with a surprisingly cogent paragraph:

When one looks across the Arab world today at the stunning spontaneous democracy uprisings, it is impossible to not ask: What are we doing spending $110 billion this year supporting corrupt and unpopular regimes in

Also posted in In the news, Military aid | Tagged | 14 Comments

Why we’ll always have benevolent autocrats

Last Friday, Bill gave a talk at the School for International and Public Affairs at Columbia.  NYU-Wagner student Christopher Faris summarized the speech over on the Wagner blog, and gives a great run-down of the audience reaction at Columbia:

…Easterly argued that the theory of growth-boosting ‘benevolent autocrats’ (think China’s economic boom) is, at best, not proven and at worst a compelling but flawed idea to which development practitioners hopefully cling – to everyone’s

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Meta | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

In Zambia, Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl: Why is World Vision perpetuating discredited T-shirt aid?

Editor’s Note 4: 10:45am 2/15: @saundra_s reports there are now 36 bloggers that have posted on this (excluding WV itself or its staffers), of which 35 are against. One more against here from faith perspective. Now have a Twitter hashtag #100kshirts.

Editor’s Note 3: 8:45am 2/15: heard from @WorldVisionUSA finally! got this direct message on Twitter: “Thanks for following WV! For even more opportunities to get involved, check us out on Facebook.”

Editor’s Note

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches | Tagged , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

Dear UK Government, why won’t you let me retire as Official Sachs Critic?

UPDATE 3: FEB 8 4:50PM: Twitter War reveals that Millennium Village Blog accused Clemens and Demombynes of hard hearts towards suffering (search the blog for “suffering”).

UPDATE 2: FEB 8 4:30PM: concluding coverage by @PSIHealthyLives @viewfromthecave of the Great Twitter War prompted by this post between @aidwatch and @earthinstitute, with collateral attacks on @m_clem, ending in a non-acceptance of debate by head of @earthinstitute.

UPDATE Feb 8 11:30am: sent comment with link to this post…

Also posted in Metrics and evaluation | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Development in 3 Sentences

I liked this formulation from the blog The Coming Prosperity, posted today as a link on Twitter:

If solutions are known, need $$. If solutions are knowable, need evaluations. If solutions are evolving, need entrepreneurs.

Consumer Warnings: This comes at the end of a long diatribe against You-Know-Who (associated with $$). I’m not sure the author is a reliable guide to other people’s work, since Yours Truly is incorrectly associated with “evaluations.”

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Metrics and evaluation | 8 Comments

Please help us praise Millennium Villages…

UPDATE 4: 3rd nomination for positive. Day 3 of silence from MVP

UPDATE 3: another nomination for positive evaluation (Michael Clemens paper), another energetic disavowal by the author (see comments below).  

UPDATE 2: oops, author of only nomination so far says it’s not so positive– see comments

UPDATE: received first nomination of positive review

On Twitter, @bill_easterly noted yesterday’s Aid Watch post :

On Millennium Villages: this is not my own predictable response, this is independent

Also posted in Metrics and evaluation | 16 Comments