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Category Archives: Political economy

Red states & Blue cities: Divided we’ll endure anyway

Happy election day! Aid Watch is unable to maintain any pretense of doing its normal business in the midst of all the excitement. Please vote early and often for the candidate of your choice, as long as they passed 8th grade science. This cool 3-D map shows the Red – Blue split in a way that captures[…..]

Also posted in Maps | 8 Comments

A more articulate economist formulates perfectly my most unpopular development argument

From the wonderful, recently updated book by Paul Seabright, via Greg Mankiw via Peter Gordon: Politicians are in charge of the modern economy in much the same way as a sailor is in charge of a small boat in a storm. The consequences of their losing control completely may be catastrophic (as civil war and hyperinflation in[…..]

Also posted in Academic research | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

FT: Celebrities urge G8 to make new unkept promises to keep previous unkept promises

Oh how we wish it would be otherwise! What will it take? Alan Beattie writes on the G8 in the FT: It stretches the most elastic mind to envisage the collective wrath of Scarlett Johansson, Annie Lennox, Bill Nighy, Kristin Davis and Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, but it descended on the heads of the[…..]

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Badvocacy and celebs, Grand plans and aid targets, Organizational behavior | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Do only democracies have anti-immigrant movements?

This great picture on changing share of foreign-born residents in the NYT today (showing countries with largest increase): You can see why anti-immigration sentiment is a big deal in the European countries shown and in the US. (This is a descriptive statement, I myself hate xenophobia.) But what about the countries at the top of[…..]

Also posted in Democracy and freedom, In the news, Migration | Tagged | 10 Comments

US food aid policies create 561 jobs in Kansas, risk millions of lives around the world

I read recently the First Law of Policy Economics: Every inefficiency is someone’s income. US food aid policy is definitely no exception, and it is riddled with inefficiencies. Exhibit A: This invitation from a coalition of big US shipping interests to an event in Washington today. At this event, USA Maritime will have tried to[…..]

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Disaster relief, Trade | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Attention Chinese government, be sure to censor this

Great article in NYT Book Review by Emily Parker on the Chinese government successfully inhibiting academic freedom and freedom of speech in the West. The Chinese-Canadian writer Denise Chong’s …  {2009} book, “Egg on Mao,” … tells the true story of Lu Decheng, who threw paint-filled eggs at Mao’s portrait in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 protests.  … A[…..]

Also posted in Democracy and freedom, Human rights | 5 Comments

Climate Blowback: What I didn’t say was not what I didn’t mean not to say

My post criticizing Sachs on climate change got many negative responses yesterday. The main problem was that I was much too terse about an issue that people care a lot about (you should probably apply a “weekend discount” to things I post on weekends!). So some understandably jumped to conclusions about what I was saying,[…..]

Tagged , | 5 Comments

Let’s show some compassion for gifted individuals like Secretary Clinton, whom politics forces to babble

This is my blog that just went up on the Foreign Policy web site on Hillary Clinton’s development speech today. There’s a positive ending! Plus my wife likes it! MORNING UPDATE: News coverage of Hillary’s speech was overwhelmingly dominated by her plans to visit New Zealand. This supports one of two theories: (1) there was indeed too much babble,[…..]

Tagged , | 12 Comments

Underwear Bomber illustrates limit of “Do Something” approach to public policy, with aid application

One of the celebrities once said about global poverty, “just do something, even if it’s wrong.” This approach is deeply appealing to politicians. Politicians love to show off to the public they are addressing a tragic problem by “doing something,” without having to bother with all that crap about “whether it actually works.” The latest[…..]

Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

The Political Economy of Aid Optimism or Pessimism

Bill and Melinda Gates are making a big media presentation today at 7pm of their Living Proof Project, in which they document aid successes in health. They call themselves “Impatient Optimists.” We can comment more after we hear their presentation. However, they invited comment already by posting progress reports on the Living Proof website. Actually,[…..]

Also posted in Data and statistics, Global health | 14 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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