Making Aid Work

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Overview

With more than a billion people now living on less than a dollar a day, and with eight million dying each year because they are simply too poor to live, most would agree that the problem of global poverty is our greatest moral challenge. The large and pressing practical question is how best to address that challenge. Although millions of dollars flow to poor countries, the results are often disappointing.In Making Aid Work, Abhijit Banerjee--an "aid optimist"--argues that aid has much to contribute, but the lack of analysis about which programs really work causes considerable waste and inefficiency, which in turn fuels unwarranted pessimism about the role of aid in fostering economic development.Banerjee challenges aid donors to do better. Building on the model used to evaluate new drugs before they come on the market, he argues that donors should assess programs with field experiments using randomized trials. In fact, he writes, given the number of such experiments already undertaken, current levels of development assistance could focus entirely on programs with proven records of success in experimental conditions.Responding to his challenge,
leaders in the field--including Nicholas Stern, Raymond Offenheiser, Alice Amsden, Ruth Levine,
Angus Deaton, and others--question whether randomized trials are the most appropriate way to evaluate success for all programs. They raise broader questions as well, about the importance of aid for economic development and about the kinds of interventions (micro or macro, political or economic) that will lead to real improvements in the lives of poor people around the world. With one in every six people now living in extreme poverty, getting it right is crucial.

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262026154
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Series: Boston Review Books
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 4.50 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee is the Ford Foundation Professor of Economics in the department of economics at MIT, a director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT, and a past president of the Bureau for Research in Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD).

Alice H. Amsden was Barton T. Weller Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Urban
Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jagdish Bhagwati is University Professor at Columbia University and External Advisor to the
Director General, World Trade Organization and Senior Fellow for International Economics with the
Council on Foreign Relations. He was named Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association in 2003.

Nicholas Stern is Head of the Government Economic Service and Second Permanent Secretary to the Treasury of the United Kingdom. He served as Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the
World Bank from July 2000 to October 2003, and before that held academic positions at institutions including the London School of Economics, Oxford University, and MIT.

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Table of Contents


Foreword     ix
Making Aid Work     1
Forum
Ian Goldin, F. Halsey Rogers, and Nicholas Stern     29
Mick Moore     39
Ian Vasquez     47
Angus Deaton     55
Alice H. Amsden     63
Robert H. Bates     67
Carlos Barbery     73
Howard White     81
Jagdish Bhagwati     91
Raymond C. Offenheiser and Didier Jacobs     99
Ruth Levine     105
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee     111
Inside the Machine     123
About the Contributors     167
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