Tagged Development

A Revolutionary Idea

Courtesy of William Easterly (who, if there is any justice in the world, will be awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics): Too much of America’s foreign aid funds what I call authoritarian development. That’s when the international community–experts from the U.N. and other bodies–swoop into third-world countries and offer purely technical assistance to dictatorships like Uganda or Ethiopia on how to solve poverty. Unfortunately, dictators’ sole motivation is to stay in power. So the development experts may get some roads built, but they are not maintained. Experts may sink boreholes for clean water, but the wells break down. Individuals do…

How to Help the Poor

Increasingly, the answer appears to be “give them cash.” And yes, there are issues that skeptics can and should raise about the study Chris Blattman discusses, but Blattman does a good job of laying out what the nature of future research should be, and where that research is likely to turn up: “The policy world needs to run some horse races between cash and these competitors, and also between different kinds of cash (or should I say different strings attached). Cash and strings may or may not win out, but the evidence it might is becoming too overwhelming to ignore.”