Measuring success

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Matt takes issue with my praise of the Millenium Challenge Corporation, noting this article complaining about the slow pace of aid.

Actually, as I understand it, this is a feature, not a bug. The idea of the MCC was to change the traditional "Don't just stand there: do something!" approach to disbursing aid. The MCC projects are large and very carefully designed, which is taking a lot of time. This may not turn out to make a difference. But the general approach of measuring aid by the amount of cash you managed to pump out, rather than the results generated thereby, was a very bad idea that the MCC was designed to challenge. It makes little sense to declare the project a failure on the ground that it's not spraying dollars over Africa like a firehose.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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