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Foreign aid by Nicholas Kristof

Look, it's true that aid doesn't always work -- any more than other projects do. We spend billions on our military, yet it doesn't always succeed. But the lesson should be to deploy military power more wisely, not to give up on it.

From the New York Times [subscription required].

SOX shows unique governance benefits

The critics of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) say that the regulation has made the U.S. less competitive, causing an exodus of companies to less-regulated stock exchanges in London and Hong Kong. The authors of a new paper defy this common wisdom. They find that when firms' characteristics such as size and type are factored in, the listing gap disappears.

Information technologies for development: a quick round-up

What a difference a month can make! Only a few weeks ago I was dreaming about the establishment of a decision market for development projects. As if to provide comfort to my employer that I was not hallucinating, Globalgiving have now launched a pilot online decision market "to help identify promising ideas and interventions in the arena of international development."

Lack of standards hurts Islamic finance

The $500 billion Islamic finance sector is large enough to attract serious attention from the UK government, which recently made changes to its tax law to enable Muslims who object to the payment or receipt of interest to access Islamic personal financial services such as mortgages and savings accounts.

Money: best when left to women

Although conditional cash transfer programs have shown positive effects in many areas, including school enrollment and child health, households' compliance with program conditions is costly for both the households and the programs, which have to monitor their compliance.

Vulture funds

BlackvulturesmAre investment firms buying out poor countries' debt at a discount, hoping to sue, harass or shame debtors into paying, simply rapacious and predatory? Or, like the birds of prey, they play an important part in maintaining the health of the international financial system?