Aid Watch

Conscience is the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking.
—H. L. Mencken

Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.
—Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

DRI’s Aid Watch initiative is a series of programs which demand accountability from the aid agencies, and which seek to shed sunlight on their projects, programs, and ideas.  It is dedicated to bringing to public attention the good and the bad in aid: cases where aid pays off handsomely for the poorest people in the world, and cases where it shamefully fails them.

The essential insight of Aid Watch is that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

Aid Watch builds upon a strong foundation of academic research comparing aid agency practices and surveying the thinking behind aid projects, including Rhetoric versus Reality: The Best and Worst of Aid Agency Practices (Easterly and Williamson, forthcoming), Where Does the Money Go? (Easterly and Pfutze, 2008) and Are Aid Agencies Improving? (Easterly 2007). Through conferences and events, the initiative brings together the leading thinkers in development economics to further the debate on how to hold aid agencies accountable for solutions to global poverty.

The Aid Watch Blog, launched in early 2009, provided a place for academics, policy makers, practitioners and observers to debate developments in aid policies and practices, showcase effective strategies, and criticize the thinking behind misguided policies and programs. The blog ended in May 2011, but you may still access the archive.

We still occasionally publish updates that fall under the Aid Watch theme. You may read them here.