Doing Bad By Doing Good

Three years after a devastating 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, the situation remains dire. Estimates suggest that more than 350,000 displaced Haitians continue to live in tent camps across the country. Half of the camps lack on-site access to water and toilets, raising serious health and sanitary concerns. Despite billions of dollars in foreign aid and the efforts of thousands of NGOs and tens of thousands of aid workers, rebuilding remains sluggish. How can humanitarian efforts, intended to help alleviate suffering, fail so badly?

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Doing Bad by Doing Good answers this question both in the case of Haiti and in other instances of human suffering. Moving past emotional and ideological-driven debates, Doing Bad by Doing Good uses the economic way of thinking to focus on the constraints and realities facing humanitarians. It explains how and why humanitarian efforts not only fail but impose harms on those who are already suffering.

Lessons of Humanitarian Action

Doing Bad by Doing Good uses the economic way of thinking to develop the economics of humanitarianism and yields four key lessons regarding humanitarian action.

Chris Coyne

Christopher Coyne is the F.A. Harper Professor of Economics at George Mason University and the Associate Director of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center. He is also the Co-Editor of The Review of Austrian Economics, the Co-Editor of The Independent Review , and the Book Review Editor of Public Choice. In 2008, he was named the Hayek Fellow at the London School of Economics.