More Than Good Intentions by Dean Karlan

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A revolutionary approach to poverty that takes human irrationality into account-and unlocks the mystery of making philanthropic spending really work.

American individuals and institutions spent billions of dollars to ease global poverty and accomplished almost nothing. At last we have a realistic way forward. Presenting innovative and successful development interventions around the globe, Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel show how empirical analysis coupled with the latest thinking in behavioral economics can make a profound difference. From Kenya, where teenagers reduced their risk of contracting AIDS by having more unprotected sex with partners their own age, to Mexico, where giving kids a one-dollar deworming pill boosted school attendance better than paying their families to send them, More Than Good Intentions reveals how to invest those billions far more effectively and begin transforming the well-being of the world.


About Dean Karlan

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DEAN KARLAN is a professor of economics at Yale University. He is also president of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and a research fellow of the M.I.T. Jameel Poverty Action Lab. He founded and is president of His research has been funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Alfred B. Sloan Foundation,, National Science Foundation, World Bank, and Interamerican Development Bank, among others. In 2007, Karlan received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut. JACOB APPEL works with IPA and spent two years as a field researcher in Ghana, West Africa. Appel lives in Montclair, New Jersey.
Published April 14, 2011 by Plume. 323 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for More Than Good Intentions

Kirkus Reviews

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Karlan (Economics/Yale Univ.), president of the nonprofit Innovations for Poverty Action, and his IPA collaborator Appel take a hard look at the realities of fighting poverty effectively.

Apr 14 2011 | Read Full Review of More Than Good Intentions

Publishers Weekly

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Karlan, a behavioral economist, and Appel, an aid worker, use psychological insights and empirical studies to assess and trouble-shoot development initiatives (especially the ballyhooed microcredit mo

Jan 10 2011 | Read Full Review of More Than Good Intentions

The Wall Street Journal

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Karlan and Appel relate an illustrative horror story about another aid program for Kenyan farmers.

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The Wall Street Journal

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In 1998, economists Michael Kremer and Ted Miguel participated in a groundbreaking aid program distributing de-worming medicine to school children in western Kenya.

Apr 30 2011 | Read Full Review of More Than Good Intentions

Stanford Social Innovation Review

As Karlan puts it, their work consists of a “two-pronged attack” on the problem of f nding the best solutions to poverty: 1) using rigorous evaluation methods akin to clinical research to test poverty solutions, both old and new;

Jun 18 2011 | Read Full Review of More Than Good Intentions

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