Monday, September 3, 2007

Foreign Aid

In his review of Paul Collier's The Bottom Billion (today's Econ 202 reading), Niall Ferguson alludes to the broader debate over the effectiveness of aid to low-income countries. The most visible academic protagonists are Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia, who believes that more aid could considerably boost living standards, and William Easterly of NYU, who is a critic of aid.

Here are opinion pieces (pdf) from the LA Times by Easterly, "The Handouts That Feed Poverty," and Sachs, "Foreign Aid Skeptics Thrive on Pessimism." For a less polemical consideration of the issue, see "Aid: Can It Work?" by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Review of Books.

Easterly titled his latest book "The White Man's Burden" after a poem by Rudyard Kipling, implying a parallel between modern aid efforts and 19th century colonialism (not very nice!).

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