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Tag Archives: metaphor for development

What aid critics could learn from movie critics

The Wall Street Journal yesterday had an article on “2010: worst movie year ever?”. Movie critics have a way with words that leaves us aid critics in the dust. Hollywood is fighting a war on numerous fronts, and losing all of them. And movie critics are even worse at something aid critics are often accused[…..]

Posted in Big ideas, In the news | Also tagged 16 Comments

How skill beats luck in the World Cup of Development

This blog periodically points out the role of randomness in development, much to the frustration of many readers. This post is how to set things up so that skill triumphs over luck. Today’s official metaphor is, of course, for us sports-obsessed nuts, the World Cup. Early rounds have seen remarkable upsets: Switzerland beats Spain, Japan[…..]

Posted in Economics principles | Also tagged 15 Comments

Miracles of spontaneous order: where to get a cab around NYU

The New York Times has this wonderful interactive feature today, where you can see where most cab pickups and dropoffs happen at any time of day on any day. It confirms a puzzling feature that I had already observed: getting a cab is hopeless at one corner, but if you move just one block over you[…..]

Posted in In the news, Language, Maps | Also tagged 9 Comments

Do what you’re actually good at? or what you should be good at?

We have just finished the annual ritual in which Hollywood pretends that its job description is making quality indie movies,  instead of what it is actually good at — producing crowd-pleasing blockbusters. Avatar was not only in the latter category by $2.5 billion or so and counting, it even got good reviews from critics. But it[…..]

Posted in Aid policies and approaches | Also tagged , , , 13 Comments

Lincoln’s Birthday Valentine’s Day Declaration: I ♥ Democracy

Democracy doesn’t attract as much love as it deserves in aid and development circles. Many wonder if benevolent autocrats might be better for development than messy elections, even though there is no evidence to support benevolent autocracy. There is a strong positive association between democracy and LEVEL of per capita income, which at least some[…..]

Posted in Democracy and freedom, History, Language | Also tagged 17 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[…..]

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