by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk.
Over the last couple of years, we have seen a lot of criticism of how international NGOs advertise and fundraise. There’s a new term – “poverty porn” – and a new emphasis on thinking seriously about the true impact of advertising.
I’ve heard three main arguments against oversimplified NGO advertising…
April 11, 2011 Posted in Organizational behavior
A nation that does not fit into the media narrative on the Worldwide or Arab-wide Democratic Revolution went ahead and held an election today.
Leading media representatives complained that there was no room for media attention to the historic, pivotal election in the nation of 74 million registered voters. “I mean there are no Arabs in Niger, are there?” said leading journalist Woodscott Tarleton. “We can barely keep up remembering the capitals of all those Arab countries like Iran.”
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 and foreign aid. But since both growth and aid contain some random variation, there is…
UPDATE 12 noon: Comments show today we are in one of those dysfunctional audience relationship posts: we assume you can read our minds, and you assume we are idiots (see end of post).
Here at Aid Watch we are definitely NOT interested in contributing to the partisan diatribe gaining force on BOTH sides of the aisle. We do wonder if the prospect of the US government shut down (still looming at time…
April 7, 2011 Posted in In the news
Vivek Nemana is an NYU graduate student and a student worker at DRI.
I’ve been working at DRI long enough to recognize bad aid, and yet my skin still tingles when I watch the TOMS Shoes’ One Day without Shoes video. I know, I KNOW…but I just can’t help being swept away by montages of beautiful young people “taking action” set to a backdrop of a dramatic Matisyahu song. So I bared…
Next installment in our popular (
for wonks maybe?) series on the volatility of growth outcomes under autocracy:
What if we have it backward, and growth volatility causes autocracy?
The picture below shows the association between per capita growth outcomes and a measure of “individualist” values.
Once again the most striking thing is the high variance of growth outcomes under collectivist values, and a much lower variance under individualist values. Which causes which? One plausible story is that…
April 5, 2011 Posted in Academic research
by Lisa Ann Richey and Stefano Ponte
Recent New York Times coverage of Madonna’s “Raising Malawi” school project has once again drawn attention to the role celebrities play in raising awareness and funds for international aid. But at the same time, the report—which chronicled the collapse of Madonna’s poorly-managed venture—brings negative exposure to “good causes” for Africa.
There was a similar case in January, when an Associated Press story on corruption in The Global…
“I can’t believe it lasted this long,” said “US Ambassador to the UN” Susan Rice, laughing, “Who would really believe that there is this magical agency that would, like, be responsible for solving all the problems in the whole world? That nobody else can solve? Or even wants to?”
“I really thought it would come out when that prankster Ban Ki Moon put Libya on the “reformed” Human Rights Council in 2010,” said Rice, “after…
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 restrains the good ones from doing what they want to achieve the great outcomes.
Unless this is completely wrong. Autocracy…