The Samaritans Dilemma: The Political Economy of Development Aid

Paperback | April 21, 2006

byClark C. Gibson, Krister Andersson, Elinor Ostrom

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What's wrong with foreign aid? Many policymakers, aid practitioners, and scholars have called into question its ability to increase economic growth, alleviate poverty, or promote social development. At the macro level, only tenuous links between development aid and improved living conditionshave been found. At the micro level, only a few programs outlast donor support and even fewer appear to achieve lasting improvements. The authors of this book argue that much of aid's failure is related to the institutions that structure its delivery. These institutions govern the complex relationships between the main actors in the aid delivery system and often generate a series of perverse incentives that promote inefficientand unsustainable outcomes. In their analysis, the authors apply the theoretical insights of the new institutional economics to several settings. First, they investigate the institutions of Sida, the Swedish aid agency, to analyze how that aid agency's institutions can produce incentives inimicalto desired outcomes, contrary to the desires of its own staff. Second, the authors use cases from India, a country with low aid dependence, and Zambia, a country with high aid dependence, to explore how institutions on the ground in recipient countries also mediate the effectiveness of aid. Throughout the book, the authors offer suggestions about how to improve aid's effectiveness. These suggestions include how to structure evaluations in order to improve outcomes, how to employ agency staff to gain from their on-the-ground experience, and how to engage stakeholders as "owners" inthe design, resource mobilization, learning, and evaluation processes of development assistance programs.

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What's wrong with foreign aid? Many policymakers, aid practitioners, and scholars have called into question its ability to increase economic growth, alleviate poverty, or promote social development. At the macro level, only tenuous links between development aid and improved living conditionshave been found. At the micro level, only a...

Clark Gibson is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the International Studies program at the University of California, San Diego. He is currently a member of the American Political Science Association Executive Committee. He has held positions at Indiana University and acted as a consultant for the World Bank, the...

other books by Clark C. Gibson

Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.67 inPublished:April 21, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199278857

ISBN - 13:9780199278855

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. What's wrong with development aid?Theoretical Foundations2. Laying the theoretical foundations for the study of development aid3. Better development through better policy? Development aid's challenges at the collective-choice level4. Sorting out the tangle: Incentives across action situations5. A formal analysis of incentives in strategic interactions involving an international development cooperation agency6. All aid is not the same: The incentives of different types of aidCase studies7. Applying the IAD framework: The incentives inside a development agency8. Incentives for contractors in aid-supported activities9. Sida aid in electricity and natural resource projects in India10. Sida aid in electricity and natural resource projects in ZambiaConclusion11. What have we learned about aid?