We need to continue to remind ourselves that neither development work nor global health, has a silver bullet. This is main message from what I’ve read of More Than Good Intentions so far and Esther Duflo, co-author of Poor Economics, echoes this sentiment in an interview in the Economic Times (via: Poverty Action):
Q: You seem to look up to micro-financing, but not its Indian experiment. What are the key lessons from India?
Duflo: That’s actually not true. The first randomised evaluation of a group-based microcredit programme was conducted by us in collaboration with Spandana, in Hyderabad. We found real, if modest, effects, that we explain in detail in the book. The main lesson is that microcredit may have overpromised, but it still delivers tangible benefit to millions of clients, and it needs to be protected against political interference, such as those we have seen at work in Andhra Pradesh, or in Bangladesh.