Arbitrary Development Numbers: 0.7%

Haven’t read this paper by Michael Clemens and Todd Moss yet, but this abstract looks interesting:

When we use essentially the same method used to
arrive at 0.7% in the early 1960s and apply today’s conditions, it yields an aid goal of just
0.01% of rich-country GDP for the poorest countries and negative aid flows to the
developing world as a whole. We do not claim in any way that this is the ‘right’ amount
of aid, but only that this exercise lays bare the folly of the initial method and the
subsequent unreflective commitment to the 0.7% aid goal. Second, we document the fact
that, despite frequent misinterpretation of UN documents, no government ever agreed in a
UN forum to actually reach 0.7%—though many pledged to move toward it. Third, we
argue that aid as a fraction of rich country income does not constitute a meaningful
metric for the adequacy of aid flows.