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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…


World Bank to Bloggers: Drop Dead

UPDATE: Bill receives WDR2011 in Sunday 12:30pm email from World Bank. Should we complain now that he is getting special treatment?

This morning we learned that the World Bank does not consider bloggers journalists. According to Bank policy, it won’t give press accreditation to bloggers, denying them access to the media briefing center where new reports are released under embargo before they are published for the public.

In this case, the report we won’t be…

Also posted in Technology | Tagged | 27 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 debates, Aid policies and approaches | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Save the date for New Directions in Development

If you’re planning to be in New York City on Friday March 4th, why not drop by our annual conference?

Please join us for our all-day
2011 Annual Conference


Friday, March 4th
NYU Campus

Information Technology and Development
Yaw Nyarko, NYU Department of Economics

From Skepticism to Development
William Easterly, NYU Department of Economics


No coups please, Professor Collier

UPDATE 10:30AM 1/15: Chris Blattman has a thoughtful response to my blog. The Complexity tribe is still upset that I didn’t do their sacred idea of Complexity justice.

On the Guardian Global Development blog, I tell Paul Collier that he’s crazy to recommend a coup in Cote d’Ivoire. But the use of complexity theory allows me to be very nice about it.

Also posted in Badvocacy and celebs, In the news, Organizational behavior | Tagged , | 24 Comments

Aid Blogger Awards

Thanks to View from the Cave for running an award contest for Aid Blogs.

The coveted Blogger of the Year award went to Chris Blattman. Aid Watch is defying the international community and declaring the vote fraudulent wishes to congratulate The Blattman for well deserved recognition.

Aid Watch did of course win the Best Snarky Award.

Twitterer of the year: @Owenbarder

Best series of the year: How Social Scientists Think by Texas…

1 Comment

Are you the general to stage a coup at Aid Watch?

The organization behind Aid Watch, NYU’s Development Research Institute, is looking for a dynamic, visionary Executive Director to guide DRI into its next phase.

Our ideal candidate will bring capable leadership, an understanding of international economic development issues, and strong fundraising skills based on a proven track record. (Hey, we do need to keep funding our pathetically small budget…)

Please consider this a unique opportunity to work with leading scholars in an organization committed to…


True Confessions: I’m still unable to conclude whether aid does more harm than good

Margaret Wente  in Toronto Globe and Mail perceives a growing backlash against humanitarian aid, that it may be doing more harm than good in Africa (she concentrates on seemingly everyone’s (including ours) recent favorite example of Ethiopia).

I’m quoted in the article accurately. Contrary to some perceptions (not in Wente’s article) however, I have never made a general argument that aid does more harm than good, or called for aid to be abolished or even cut. I said…

Also posted in Aid debates, In the news | 22 Comments

Top economists on Twitter

Tim Harford gives his Top Ten economists on Twitter. The one most known to this readership is @dambisamoyo. Then Tim adds another category:

Honourable mentions – a subjective combination of econ tweeters who are popular, interesting or under-appreciated

I will overlook Tim’s blatant self-promotion of including @TimHarford on this list, in return for blatantly noting that he also includes @bill_easterly.

Tagged , | 1 Comment

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 why Easterly sometimes gets a little testy.

Also posted in Aid debates | 3 Comments