Duflo and Mosenkis connect two dots. The first is the observation that between 1990 and 2013, the number of people in extreme poverty fell by more than a billion. The second is that field research has taught us how to best help the poor: give the poor cash (ATM style), train people to go to the homes of the poor with medications (Avon lady style), give the poor access to mobile money (M-Pesa style, explained here), and send them regular text messages to save money, have safe sex, and take their medications (S.M.A.R.T.-style). With the dots connected, the reader concludes that extreme poverty has fallen by 130,000 every day since 1990—including the 366 days in 2016—because of such interventions.
If only it were so easy and automatic.
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