Apr 1, 2009

Moyo's book - Sexism and twisted incentives

I read Dead Aid and I liked it a lot, almost as if I had written it. Not only does she explains clearly the multiple mechanisms through which aid causes underdevelopment (Easterly doesn't), half of her book is devoted to explaining how new ways of financing Africa's development, that do not involve aid, like government bonds, microfinance, remittances, and the Chinese can be the solution. She explains convincingly how ending aid(except humanitarian and emergency aid) in the next 5 years could work .

And now I'm reading how most of the reviews (collected here) are discrediting her ideas, including The Economist, who was so nice with Calderisi's "The trouble with Africa" whose suggestion was to limit aid to 5 countries, or with Collier or Easterly. Everyone (except Easterly) gives her shit for a lack of objectivity and selectivity that is true of any book and is never mentioned in reviews of books written by men…This is sexism big time.

But the worst review comes from Roodman at the Center for Global development. He says that "the book is sporadically footnoted, selective in its use of facts, sloppy, simplistic, illogical, and stunningly naive" and that he has "probably done more than anyone to challenge studies showing that aid “works” on average." Really? What does he know about development except the blah blah he hears in DC and reads on the internet and writes in papers using xtabond2 to show that aid works?

A huge part of the negaitive reaction from the development community is also explained in her book and here by Ross Levine. In the aid industry, incentives to keep the lending money flowing trumps any incentive to get the advice right on important issues.

So do read her book.

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