Jeff Sachs and Longer and More Variable Lags

Robert Waldmann

So I’m reading “Aid Ironies” by Jeff Sachs and nodding my head vigorously.

“The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, and the Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunizations are both saving lives by the millions, and at remarkably low cost.”


“Americans … overestimate the actual aid from the US by around thirty times, so they imagine that vast sums are flowing to Africa that are then squandered. “

Yes absolutely very important. An error of that magnitude is not just ignorance, it is prejudice, but it should be possible to force people to face one single solitary vitally important fact. Shouldn’t it ?

Then I get to this sentence

“US aid to India for increased food production in the 1960s paved the way for India’s growth takeoff afterwards.”

Sachs (who I respect immensely) has just outdone Robert Samuelson in the bogus empirics based on whatever the hell lag I please department. He claims that aid in the 60s caused a growth spurt in the 90s. Even NotPaul only blamed Johnson for things that happened a mere 5 years after he left office.

Sachs (unlike R Samuelson) is very smart. Why did he write that sentence ? I think he assumes that people who can overestimate the AID budget by 30 fold can overlook 30 years. I think he has a solid case and doesn’t have to make absurd arguments.