Banerjee, Abhijit. "Making Aid Work," (and the responses). Boston Review, July/August 2006.
By the fourth day after the October 2005 earthquake in northern Pakistan, the world had woken up to the fact that something very big had happened. The government was estimating that 50,000 or more people had been injured or killed, and many survivors were likely trapped somewhere without water or food. The reaction was immediate and life affirming. Everyone showed up to help: international and local NGOs, the United Nations, and groups of college students with rented trucks full of food and other necessities. Money flowed in from everywhere. The Indian government, reversing a policy of many years, announced that it would open the highly sensitive border between the two Kashmirs so that aid could flow more easily.
In the middle of all this excitement, a small group of economists based primarily in the United States started worrying about how the aid would get to the right people.