White Man’s Burden


William Easterly, author of The White Man’s Burden: Why The West’s Efforts To Aid The Rest Have Done So Much Ill And So Little Good, has added his voice to the growing demand for independent evaluation of foreign aid. … Easterly said … that development assistance lacks CIAO: Customer feedback, Incentives, Accountability, and, therefore, good Outcomes. The solution, he said, is independent evaluation.

“We need independent evaluation of foreign aid. It’s amazing that we’ve gone a half century without this,” he said. Truly independent evaluation of aid would “give feedback to see which interventions are working and give incentives to aid staff to find things that work,??? he said. As a result, aid agencies would “start specializing much more in individual, monitorable tasks for which they can be held accountable.???

… Easterly contrasted two approaches. First, an ineffective planners’ approach that he said lacks the knowledge and motivation to achieve overambitious, arbitrary targets. Second, what he regards as a more constructive searchers’ approach: individuals always on the lookout for piecemeal improvements to poor peoples’ well-being, with a system to get more aid resources to those who find things that work.


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