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
Category Archives: Data and statistics
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[…..]
We’ve had a lot of very heated debates on this blog about the uses and abuses of global statistics—most recently on estimates of poverty, maternal mortality, and hunger—with a certain senior Aid Watch blogger inciting the ire of many (not least those who produce the figures) by calling them “made-up.” A new study in the[…..]
From the brilliant xkcd (also the creator of this classic in statistics humor). We couldn’t resist using this as a way to illustrate some of our early wonky posts complaining about the suspected practice of “data mining” in aid research. In aid world, research looks for an association of some type between two factors, like economic growth[…..]
As a previous post showed, autocracies have high variance of growth outcomes (also illustrated in the graph above). The usual interpretation is that benevolent autocrats cause good outcomes while malevolent autocrats cause bad growth outcomes. Democracy has checks and balances that prevents malevolent people from having too much power to generate bad outcomes, but also[…..]
UPDATE 11:35am: don’t think I obsess about Twitter numbers (see end of post) I posted a link on Twitter to yesterday’s great post by Laura: “Does Japan need your donation?”. A little while later the traffic on Aid Watch exploded. Being still pretty clueless about social media, I didn’t know why. Much later in the day, the reason[…..]
Higher resolution file here.
This animated cartogram, created by William and Mary student Ashley Ingram and blogged by Mike Tierney at AidData’s The First Tranche, shows aid flows from the US government to the rest of the world from 1985 to 2008.
To produce these maps, the geographic area of a country is replaced by the dollar value of its aid, so that the size of a country fluctuates from year to year depending on how much money the US sends it for development assistance. At the same time, the countries are shaded lighter or darker according to per capita income levels.
UPDATE 11:20AM: accused of Detroit “poverty porn”, see response below. As you may have noticed, this blog sees America itself as an interesting development laboratory. Others seem to agree, as a new report applies the Human Development Index to the US. The site has a cool mapping function. Here is a map of health that[…..]
UPDATE 12:24 PM: US Aid here refers to Official Development Assistance, not military aid. See US military vs economic assistance and US aid by sector in Egypt here. This chart comes to us from the people at AidData, a data portal that provides detailed information down to the individual project level for aid funds spent by[…..]
For many of the world’s poorest countries, figures measuring economic growth are unreliable, and in some cases they don’t exist at all. In an NBER working paper, Brown University professors J. Vernon Henderson, Adam Storeygard, and David N. Weil came up with an interesting proxy for GDP growth: the amount of light that can be seen from[…..]
After all the blogging we’ve done on how hard it is to find complete and accurate information (as opposed to “success stories”) on USAID’s website, I think we’d be remiss not to mention a new US government site launched just before the holidays. The Foreign Assistance Dashboard is the first version of a site that[…..]