Humanitarian Aid

I’m currently reading Christopher Coyne’s Doing Bad By Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Fails. It’s a good critique, and I thought I’d just drop this nugget of knowledge for consideration.

[A] study of drug donations in the post-tsunami Banda Aceh province found that 70 percent of the drugs had foreign labels that could not be understood by local workers and were therefore unusable. The study also found that 60 percent of the donated drugs were not relevant to those affected by the tsunami, and moreover, 25 percent of the donated drugs had either expired or had no expiration date listed… In total, the report noted, approximately six hundred tons of medicine had to be destroyed at a cost of $3 million.

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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4 Responses to Humanitarian Aid

  1. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Which is why it is always better to donate cash than goods.

  2. lancifer666 says:

    Cash is also the easiest to “misappropriate”.

  3. Murali says:

    Bannerjee and Duflo’s Poor Economics is very good in terms of empirical studies on foreign aid and efficacy. They do a good job of both explaining the economics to an amateur like me as well as making an honest empirical assessment of the conditions under which foreign aid works. The results are of course not wholly negative. The issue is not just money vs in kind, but how to get people money and how to supply in kind goods.

  4. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    True, which is why one should be careful who one gives cash too.

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