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This paper addresses an important methodological question for a recent debate in global justice: What types of data are necessary for settling normative debates about foreign aid? Recently, several philosophers have considered the case for foreign aid and have concluded that foreign aid is either ineffective or counter-productive. This paper considers what kinds of evidence those doing applied philosophy must use to support different claims about aid’s efficacy. Then, using some of the best available data, this paper makes a strong case for at least some foreign aid. This paper’s methodological lessons, however, are quite general. It considers what types of data are necessary for establishing the kinds of empirical claims often relied upon in the political philosophy and public policy literature

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