Gwenyth's Reviews > More Than Good Intentions: How a New Economics Is Helping to Solve Global Poverty

More Than Good Intentions by Dean Karlan
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's review
Jul 27, 2011

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bookshelves: global-health
Read from July 16 to 24, 2011

I would probably recommend certain chapters of this book to people to read as alongside other material on the same topic. For example, I liked the chapter on microfinance, and I thought provides the sort of background and commentary on the subject you might if someone was interested in learning a bit about the subject. The section on malaria bed nets did a good job of very simply summarizing the Sachs-Easterly debate and provided a bit of interesting additional evidence.

Probably I would not recommend reading the book straight through, though. Some chapters were a lot weaker than others and there was a fair amount of repetition. "Randomized trials in economics are great!" would have been a good theme for a long magazine article, but as a book it felt like a weak way of threading together stories about the different research projects.

They talked a little about some of their projects that failed (why they failed, what they learned from them) - they could have done even some more of that. On the other hand, the conversational tone of the book started to feel a bit false after a while; and they kept pushing some website (why? it was weird). Several chapters began with anecdotes about some poor person they had encountered during their work, but these kind of felt like calculated stereotypes rather than fully-realized characters - they were, I don't know, not terrible, but a little uncomfortable to read.
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