Giving money away to the extreme poor

MIT Building 51, Room 325 and broadcast live

Billions of dollars are spent every year on foreign aid and charitable contributions. People living in extreme poverty decide how approximately none of this money is spent. Instead, donors make decisions, which may or may not align with what people want or need.

On April 25, Paul Niehaus, associate professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego, will lead J-PAL’s next Data, Decisions, Public Policy talk at MIT. Paul’s lecture will discuss an approach that is challenging the conventional approach to aid: giving money directly to the poor. He will explore questions such as: If we gave more money directly, what would happen to the people who receive it and the communities in which they live? Is providing a “basic income” the best way to help people living in extreme poverty?

In addition to his faculty position at the University of California, San Diego, Paul is an affiliate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA). Paul is also a co-founder of GiveDirectly and of Segovia Technology Co. He holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University. In 2013, Foreign Policy named Paul Niehaus one of its “Top 100 Leading Global Thinkers.”