Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Overseas Aid

[This footnote relates to Chapter 6 of The Spirit Level Delusion]

Since The Spirit Level Delusion was published, I have come across the Index of Global Philanthropy and Remittances (2009) which provides overseas aid figures for 22 countries. Crucially, this index combines state aid with private donations. Shown as a percentage of gross national income, it is clear that more equal countries are neither more nor less generous to the developing world than the less equal countries. Wilkinson and Pickett are only able to argue otherwise by ignoring all private donations.

1 comment:

Peter Uvin said...

While I agree with a lot of what you state in your website, I disagree with this statement. The index you use here is pretty deliberately designed to measure something else--flows from rich countries that impact on the development of poor ones. While this is important stuff, it is not the same as aid. I agree with their inclusion of, say, private foundations. But, for example, remittances (sent home typically by migrant workers) are not development aid. They may be useful for individual families who have them, allowing them to build mansions in the Philippines or Cape Verde (or anything else people desire to do with it), but that does not make them development aid. The index deliberately confuses these things, and so do you.