Reinventing Foreign Aid
The urgency of reducing poverty in the developing world has been the subject of a public campaign by such unlikely policy experts as George Clooney, Alicia Keyes, Elton John, Angelina Jolie, and Bono. And yet accompanying the call for more foreign aid is an almost universal discontent with the effectiveness of the existing aid system. In Reinventing Foreign Aid, development expert William Easterly has gathered top scholars in the field to discuss how to improve foreign aid. These authors, Easterly points out, are not claiming that their ideas will (to invoke a current slogan) Make Poverty History. Rather, they take on specific problems and propose some hard-headed solutions.
Easterly himself, in an expansive and impassioned introductory chapter, makes a case for the "searchers"—who explore solutions by trial and error and learn from feedback—over the "planners"—who throw an endless supply of resources at a big goal—as the most likely to reduce poverty. Other writers look at scientific evaluation of aid projects (including randomized trials) and describe projects found to be cost-effective, including vaccine delivery and HIV education; consider how to deal with the government of the recipient state (work through it or bypass a possibly dysfunctional government?); examine the roles of the International Monetary Fund (a de facto aid provider) and the World Bank; and analyze some new and innovative proposals for distributing aid.
Abhijit Banerjee, Nancy Birdsall, Craig Burnside, Esther Duflo, Domenico Fanizza, William Easterly, Ruimin He, Kurt Hoffman, Stephen Knack, Michael Kremer, Mari Kuraishi, Ruth Levine, Bertin Martens, John McMillan, Edward Miguel, Jonathan Morduch, Todd Moss, Gunilla Pettersson, Lant Pritchett, Steven Radelet, Aminur Rahman, Ritva Reinikka, Jakob Svensson, Nicolas van de Walle, James Vreeland, Dennis Whittle, Michael Woolcock.
About the Editor
William Easterly is the author of The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics (MIT Press, 2001) and The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good. He is Professor of Economics at New York University (Joint with Africa House), Codirector of NYU's Development Research Institute, visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Nonresident Fellow of the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC.
"This book is topical, academically rigorous, and wide ranging. A highquality collection!"
—Christopher Scott, London School of Economics
"Enhancing aid effectiveness requires a holistic approach. This outstandingbook provides rich food for thought, with expert contributions spanning therange from evaluation to institutional design and new approaches inproviding aid. A must-read for all scholars and practitioners interested inmaking aid work."
—Holger Wolf, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
"It is ironic that, at a time when aid flows to the poorest countries of theworld are reaching unprecedented scale, and when the challenge of generatingresources to fight world poverty is receiving unprecedented publicattention, the question of what actually works in making aid effective hasbecome extremely controversial. Fortunately, a new generation ofdevelopment researchers has turned its attention to this question, bringingto bear a variety of innovative and refreshingly convincing new empiricaltechniques. This volume edited by William Easterly brings togethercontributions from many of the leading lights in this field, providing arich menu of perspectives not only on what has been learned through this newwork, but also on how much remains to be learned. It is an accessiblemust-read not only for students and academics, but more importantly forthose in the policy world who will participate in making the criticaldecisions on how aid will be administered, as well as for the citizens whowill hold them accountable for those decisions."
—Peter Montiel, Fred Greene Third Century Professor of Political Economy,Williams College