Why Development Programmes Fail: William Easterly and the Political Economy of Intervention

9 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2016

See all articles by Abigail Hall

Abigail Hall

University of Tampa; George Mason University

Date Written: June 2016

Abstract

Throughout his considerable body of work, William Easterly has identified several critical problems with foreign aid and economic development programmes. In particular, he argues that many working in areas of development act as ‘planners’, who believe they can implement effective policies but who in fact lack the necessary knowledge. Moreover, Easterly claims that these agents face perverse incentives that lead to suboptimal development outcomes. This article explores the theoretical roots of Easterly’s critiques and relates them to the work of two Nobel prize‐winning economists, F.A. Hayek and James M. Buchanan. It explores the broader applicability of Easterly’s criticisms by applying a similar framework to military activity.

Keywords: economic development, foreign intervention, incentives, knowledge problems, William Easterly

Suggested Citation

Hall, Abigail, Why Development Programmes Fail: William Easterly and the Political Economy of Intervention (June 2016). Economic Affairs, Vol. 36, Issue 2, pp. 175-183, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2800377 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecaf.12174

Abigail Hall (Contact Author)

University of Tampa ( email )

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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