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A working paper distributed this month by NBER and covered in the New York Times not only contributes to the growing number of rigorous studies on public policy questions but also epitomizes changing research norms that are crucial to improving the quality of such studies.
I am a big admirer of Nick Kristof, of the passion and concern that animate his books and columns, and of the must-do-can-do spirit that they embody. But sometimes his soft heart gets ahead of the hard head, leading to misleading and intellectually insupportable advocacy of foreign aid. A good example is today’s column.
I was dismayed to learn recently that school-based deworming in Kenya -- one of the most celebrated and cost-effective successes in global development in 2009 -- was not repeated in 2010. The story of how that happened offers an object lesson in the gritty difficulties of translating evidence into policy.
A new year calls for a development policy wish list. My wish list is about what the rich and powerful global actors– mostly but not solely in the United States – can do to improve lives among the poor and vulnerable around the world in the coming year.