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Tag Archives: aid effectiveness

Was that foreign aid … or a campaign contribution?

The scholarly literature on aid effectiveness focuses on answering one of two questions: 1) Is aid effective at causing growth? And 2) Is aid effective at reducing poverty?

But what about when growth and poverty reduction aren’t the goals? What if the purpose of some aid is to influence a foreign election?

Some clever forensic statistic work is suggestive that bilateral donors use aid (ODA) to influence elections. They give more aid to friendly governments…

Posted in Academic research, Data and statistics | Also tagged 7 Comments

In defense of being mean-spirited: response to a critic

People on Twitter yesterday and today called attention to this thought-provoking critique of yours truly (from Chris Conrad at his blog The Big-Push: Development and Aid Effectiveness)

I did want to take issue with one of Easterly’s tweets from yesterday, in which he sardonically impugns USAID’s efforts in Afghanistan, suggesting that the most benefit Afghanis have realized from USAID’s years of war-time effort is the use of USAID-labeled vegetable oil cans to set

Posted in Meta | Also tagged , , 24 Comments

Afghans and social entrepreneurs improvise when official aid fails

From the blog FabFi (HT to blog Whirled Citizen)

{A} World Bank funded infrastructure project to bring internet connectivity to Afghanistan began more than SEVEN YEARS ago and only made its first international link this June. That project, despite hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, is still far from being complete.

{Meanwhile} the Fabbed Long-Range Wireless Antenna Project, … as of December 2008 is working on an installation in Jalalabad Afghanistan.

Posted in Entrepreneurship | Also tagged , 2 Comments

The War of the Causes in Aid

The development industry seems to be riddled with people whose main job is to divert money to their good cause. The advocates are united by a strong belief in the priority that should be given to their sector (education, water, AIDS etc). They convince themselves that they are speaking for real interests of the poor… Within many aid agencies there is a permanent state of low intensity bureaucratic warfare for resources…{staff} fight to defend and

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Global health | Also tagged , , , 15 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 Rajoelina’s questionable government to hold elections, first threatened to remove preferential trading rights for…

Posted in Trade | Also tagged , 24 Comments

Religion and Ethics takes on foreign aid

Bill Easterly is featured on PBS’s Religion and Ethics program airing this week. It’s called “Making Foreign Aid Work,” and here’s an excerpt:

Check the Religion and Ethics site for local viewing times.

Posted in Meta | Also tagged 6 Comments

Some NGOs CAN adjust to Failure: The PlayPumps Story

Back in the 1990s, a billboard advertising executive in South Africa had a very good idea. Spinning on a merry-go-round connected to a water pump, children could generate plentiful, clean water without the time-consuming, hard work of traditional hand pumps.

At the primary schools in South Africa where the first of these merry-go-rounds were installed, kids got a place to play, their communities got free drinking water, and girls and women, who bear much of…

Posted in Aid policies and approaches | Also tagged , 21 Comments

Who gets the Last Seat on the Plane? Why Aid Hates Economics

Not long ago, I was returning home from a trip when the airline bumped me from my flight due to overbooking. The airline rep was very sympathetic, but I didn’t want her sympathy, I wanted A Seat On the Plane. She had traded off my wishes against those of other passengers, and I lost.

Economists are unpopular because we say there is always SOME resource that is overbooked in aid, and aid is Forced to…

Posted in Metrics and evaluation | Also tagged , , , 15 Comments

Set a Big Goal. Give All to Meet It. This is Stupid.

The first two sentences come out of thousands of commencement addresses, not to mention inspirational foreign aid addresses. But they’re bad advice.

Social entrepreneurs in foreign aid might learn from private sector entrepreneurs, who don’t stick to fixed goals.

A University of Illinois graduate moved to Silicon Valley with a great goal (perhaps inspired by the Illini commencement address) – develop security software for hot-selling handheld devices like the Palm Pilot. He assumed that enterprises…

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Big ideas, Books and book reviews, Entrepreneurship | Also tagged 8 Comments

Life in the Aid World: Caught Red-Handed, No Consequences

Last week, a report in USA Today brought to light a story of aid funds going badly astray. In case you have not followed the story, it seems that back in 2003, USAID contracted with the UNDP and UNOPS to complete a series of “quick impact” infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, to build badly needed roads, bridges, and community buildings. A US government report on the project, sparked by a tip from an anonymous complainant,…

Posted in Accountability and transparency, Financing development, In the news, Organizational behavior | Also tagged , , 6 Comments