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When Helping Hurts

I have just finished listening to the Frekonomics episode when helping hurts and am staggered.

The episode talks about a large study, the Cambridge-Somerville study, into social interventions and attempts to reduce gang viollence.

This was as close to perfect study in terms of it being a long term, randomised controlled trial. Its main finding was that the intervention did not work. Not only did it not work but it actully caused more harm than good.

What I find most supprising is that even though this was published in 1992, I had no idea. It seems to be almost hidden.

I think anyone involved in youth projects should be made aware of this. Not nessesaraly to stop youth programs in general but to ensure they are aware of the risks and that just because you think what you are doing will help, it might not.

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