Yea that is very interesting. Foreign aid is definitely not a super important issue for voters in the U.S. but it is surprisingly bipartisan. I think even those with more hawkish or isolationist messages recognize for the importance of foreign aid for national security.
Increasing public awareness on foreign aid spending could definitely help incentivize more reform. I applaud the efforts by the ONE campaign.
Hi Tony. I just released a second post Is Foreign Aid Effective? where I share a review of aid effectiveness literature. Overall I think that yes aid is an effective mechanism to do good in the world. Important functions like food security and humanitarian relief are almost entirely dependent on foreign aid and are definitely "effective."
Of course the effectiveness of aid is still far from ideal. There lot of examples in which foreign aid projects had no impact or even a negative impact on the recipient countries. Much like we have discovered with charities, effectiveness often varies at orders of magnitude. I imagine foreign aid programs are similar. Foreign aid also hasn't produced much measurable economic growth in poor countries for reasons which I highlight in my second post.
I think there is also reasons for optimism regarding trends in foreign aid. There seems to be a significant shift among countries to implement more randomized control trials and generally be more transparent.The transformation of USAID is a good example a positive step towards more effective foreign aid.