Nicholas Kristof writes about the power of hope for the poor, in this article. Evidence shows that aid can overcome disease, boost literacy and save lives. Poverty causes stress and depression and lack of hope, and stress and depression and lack of hope, in turn, cause poverty. Researchers are now studying whether exposure to religion might have a similar effect, improving economic outcomes. A large-scale experiment shows, with rigorous evidence, what works to lift people out of the most extreme poverty. And it’s exhilarating that one of the lessons may be so simple and human: the power of hope.
Read an excerpt of the article written by Nicholas Kristof:
An awkward truth for bleeding hearts like myself is that there has never been much rigorous evidence that outside aid can sustainably lift people out of poverty. Sure, evidence is overwhelming that aid can overcome disease, boost literacy and save lives. But raising incomes is trickier — and the evidence in that arena has been squishier. Now that’s changing. A vast randomized trial — the gold standard of evidence — involving 21,000 people in six countries suggests that a particular aid package called the graduation program (because it aims to graduate people from poverty) gives very poor families a significant boost that continues after the program ends. Indeed, it’s an investment. ...read more