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Category Archives: Trade

What don’t make sense in trade don’t make sense in aid

Common sense principles in international trade are surprisingly useful for aid as well. Here’s a list of overall principles that help explain some of the most discussed aid dos and don’ts on this and other blogs. 1) Don’t trade low value items with huge transport costs. No exporter or importer in their right mind would[…..]

Tagged , , , , | 35 Comments

Of mangos and plastic crates

Sometimes the things that keep people in poverty seem so small and so insignificant, and the remedies seem so simple, that it’s hard for people from rich countries to understand why they remain impoverished. Jelen, a Haitian farmer living on about $2 a day, can’t get enough water to her mango trees, even though there[…..]

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Disaster relief | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Oops, did I just prove “Confessions of a hit man” conspiracy?

Ray Fisman in Slate takes my paper with Daniel Berger, Nathan Nunn, and Shanker Satyanath on Commercial Imperialism as partial confirmation of John Perkins’ allegation of a global conspiracy to take down poor nations for the benefit of rich corporations. This is fun, so let’s run with it. Of course there’s a eeny weeny difference between[…..]

Also posted in Academic research | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Commercial Imperialism? Political Influence and Trade During the Cold War

We exploit the recent declassification of CIA documents and examine whether there is evidence of US power being used to influence countries’ decisions regarding international trade. We measure US influence using a newly constructed annual panel of CIA interventions aimed at installing and supporting leaders during the Cold War. Our presumption is that the US[…..]

Also posted in Academic research | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Rwanda’s coffee success story

A walking tour through some of the trendiest coffee shops in the NYU vicinity reveals a common element: creatively packaged, expensive Rwandan coffee for sale. Given our long-standing interest in 1) good coffee and 2) the potential of entrepreneurship for development, this phenomenon clearly merited investigation. The work of Karol Boudreaux, who has been following[…..]

Also posted in Big ideas, Entrepreneurship, History | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Worst in Aid: The Grand Prize

Hillary Clinton recently declared: “We are working to elevate development and integrate it more closely with defense and diplomacy in the field…The three Ds must be mutually reinforcing.” Clinton says that the 3D approach will elevate development to the level of diplomacy and defense. Unfortunately, it could instead lower development further to an instrument employed to achieve[…..]

Also posted in Democracy and freedom, Military aid | Tagged , , , , | 34 Comments

Chronicle of a death foretold

When the article Madagascar: Textile Industry Unravels came across our desks yesterday, we were saddened but not surprised. That’s because people on the ground have been predicting this outcome (and Aid Watch has been stubbornly blogging about it over and over). Multiple critics have protested ever since the US government, hoping to force President Andry[…..]

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Madagascar textile workers ask President Obama to keep their jobs for Christmas, but nobody is listening

Here’s an excerpt from an ad that appeared in the print edition of Politico today, paid for by the owners of apparel factories in Madagascar and one of their American investor partners. We have blogged about this seemingly obscure issue already many more times than you, our patient readers, may have wanted, but we see[…..]

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

USTR Replies to Our Campaign to Save Madagascar Jobs

After sending an email to Constance Hamilton, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, we received the following email in response: Thank you, Mr. Easterly, for your email. We of course, want to have as many sub-Saharan African countries as possible be eligible for AGOA benefits. We are working with all the countries, including Madagascar[…..]

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Democracy and freedom | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Hopeless cause of the week: save Madagascar!

Aid Watch has a stubborn attachment to excellent but possibly hopeless causes… Madagascar, a country we first blogged about in June and then again in August, may be down to its last few days as regards AGOA, the US preference program that underpins about 50 percent of the country’s $500 million textile industry.  Because of[…..]

Also posted in In the news | Tagged , | 4 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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