New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

NYU’s Development Research Institute Recognized for Scholarship on Impact of Foreign Aid

February 1, 2010
N-224, 2009-10

New York University’s Development Research Institute (DRI) has been recognized by Spain’s BBVA Foundation for its innovative scholarship on the impact of foreign aid. In selecting DRI for its 2009 “Frontiers of Knowledge Award,” which carries a cash prize of € 400,000 (approximately $560,000), the foundation also noted the institute’s “challenge to the conventional wisdom in development assistance.”

DRI, whose research focuses on the economic development and growth of poor countries, is led by NYU’s William Easterly and Yaw Nyarko, both professors of economics.

“DRI has brought a fresh approach to aid and development research, helping ensure that the economic aid rich countries provide to the developing world is better utilized,” the BBVA Foundation said in its announcement. “Its results question certain mainstream assumptions in development cooperation, like the idea that more generosity on the part of rich donor countries will have an automatic pay-off in poor country development.”

“At a time when richer countries are being called on to increase aid expenditure, DRI has made it its mission to ensure that these resources are not wasted and that policy advice is effective,” concluded the award jury.

The jury, made up of some of the world’s leading academic economists, singled out DRI’s determination to hold development assistance organizations and national aid agencies accountable to scientific scrutiny. As part of this effort, the DRI released its own aid agency ranking in 2008, which included efficiency indicators. The ranking may be downloaded here.

“Unlike other organizations in the development research field, DRI not only quantifies the effectiveness of large-scale humanitarian campaigns, but also puts forward solutions to improve the way donations are managed,” the foundation added. “One of the first conclusions of its research is that decisions about the allocation of relief funds cannot be left to foreign governments or multilateral organizations. Instead, they need to take close account of the social, cultural, and economic peculiarities of the receiving communities in determining how and where the monies can best be spent.”

Nyarko, one of the top African academic economists in the world, focuses on models where the economic actors engage in active learning about their environments and human capital models of economic growth and development. He has been a consultant to the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Social Science Research Council, among other organizations.

Easterly (@bill_easterly), who also has an appointment with NYU’s Africa House, is the 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 (2006). His other published works include The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics (2001). Easterly also served as a research economist at the World Bank for 16 years. He runs the economics blog, Aid Watch.

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards aim to recognize and encourage research and artistic creation, prizing contributions of lasting impact for their originality, theoretical significance, and ability to push back the frontiers of the known world. These international awards span eight categories: basic sciences (physics, chemistry, mathematics); biomedicine; ecology and conservation biology; information and communication technologies; economics, finance, and management; contemporary music; climate change; and, development cooperation. The BBVA Foundation, part of Spain’s BBVA, a global financial corporation, specializes in promoting scientific research in the area of social science, biomedicine, and the environment.


EDITOR’S NOTE
The Development Research Institute (DRI) is devoted to rigorous, scholarly research on the economic development and growth of poor countries. An independent and non-partisan organization, DRI builds upon a foundation of academic research comparing aid agency practices and surveying the thinking behind aid projects. For more, go to http://dri.as.nyu.edu/page/home.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Research, All University, Graduate School of Arts and Science, Awards

Type: Press Release

drilogo

Search News



NYU In the News

Entrepreneurship Lab Opens at NYU

Crain’s New York Business covered the opening of the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurial eLab, which will be the headquarters for NYU’s Entrepreneurial Institute and all of the University’s programs aimed at promoting innovation and startups.

A Globalizer for N.Y.U. in Abu Dhabi

The New York Times profiled Bill Bragin who will become the first executive artistic director of NYU Abu Dhabi’s new performing arts center.

Think Tank to Ponder a Future for Ballet

The New York Times profiled Jennifer Homans, the director of NYU’s new Center for Ballet and the Arts.

The Brilliant Ten: Jonathan Viventi Builds Devices That Decode Thoughts

Popular Science named Assistant Bioengineering Professor Jonathan Viventi as one of its “brilliant ten” for his research into brain implants that could one day halt epileptic episodes:

Living and Leaving the Dream: Adrian Cardenas’ Journey from the Major Leagues to College

The New York Times ran a feature on Adrian Cardenas, a former major league baseball player who is now studying philosophy and creating writing at NYU.

NYU Footer