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In an essay published last month in The Guardian, 15 leading economists – including the Nobel laureates Angus Deaton, James Heckman and Joseph Stiglitz – criticized what they call "the 'aid effectiveness' craze" on the grounds that it leads us to ignore the root causes of global poverty.The bank's most recent estimate is that there are 768.5 million people, or 10.7 percent of the world's population, living in extreme poverty.But in 1990, more than 35 percent of the world's people were living in extreme poverty, and as recently as 2012, the figure was 12.4 percent. The economists' essay then tells us that the supposed failure to make progress in reducing global poverty comes despite "hundreds of billions of dollars of aid".If all of this money went to the 768.5 million people living in extreme poverty, it would amount to $191 for each of them. The next target for the 15 economists is the use of randomized controlled trials to test whether interventions are effective.As noted, however, the economists' major objection to this kind of evidence is that it leads us to focus on "micro-interventions" that do not tackle the underlying causes of poverty.
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