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I and all my colleagues at the Center for Global Development (CGD) are thrilled with the announcement today that CGD senior fellow, Michael Clemens, has won this year’s Royal Economic Society prize - a prize awarded annually to the author(s) of the best non-solicited paper published in The Economic Journal (read the journal or ungated version).  Michael shares the prize with three former CGD staff: Steven Radelet, now at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, Rikhil Bhavnani of the University of Wisconsin, and Samuel Bazzi of Boston University.  Michael is in the United Kingdom to accept the award on behalf of his co-authors at a ceremony that took place today at the Royal Economic Society annual conference.

Michael and his co-authors asked a much debated question: Does foreign aid contribute to economic growth in relatively poor countries?  In “Counting Chickens When They Hatch: Timing and the Effects of Aid on Growth”, the authors reassessed that question using the same data and the same regression analyses of the three most influential prior aid-growth studies – for the first time distinguishing between types and timing of different kinds of aid. Their work suggests that increases in aid have indeed, been followed on average by increases in investment and growth, with the magnitude of the relationship being modest, varying greatly across recipients, and diminishing at high levels of aid.

An award of this kind vindicates the emphasis at CGD on supporting rigorous research that meets the highest academic standards – as an investment in the people and ideas that will have impact far beyond any particular news cycle.

I am delighted that the paper --the result of world-class research-- has been honored in this way. I also want to thank two supporters of the research: the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 

Michael Clemens with Prof. Richard Blundell, president of the Royal Economic Society, at the 2013 RES Annual Meeting

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.