Bill Easterly and Laura Freschi point to a study showing that foreign aid increases happiness–for the donor countries. For the recipients, not so much.

I have not read the study, but I doubt that I would find the research methods persuasive. Still, the conclusion is perfectly Hansonian. If the goal of foreign aid is to “show that you care,” it stands to reason that it would have no net benefit on recipients while increasing the happiness of donors.

And there is no reason to assume that the result does not extend to many domestic redistribution programs.