Organising for Development

How donor governance affects aid allocation and the effectiveness of foreign aid

More than twenty years ago, an influential study by World Bank economists showed that foreign aid promotes economic growth only in countries that are well governed and opt for optimal economies policies (Burnside and Dollar 1997). In response, foreign donors began allocating more aid to countries that meet certain standards of good governance and by dispersing aid in poorly governed countries via non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

This project shifts attention to donor governance as a potential determinant of aid effectiveness. Improvements to donor governance—the institutional environment, organizational structure, and transparency of donor agencies—may carry important benefits for aid effectiveness and aid efficiency. Systematic research on how the organizational arrangements of donor agencies affect their aid allocation behaviors and aid effectiveness is lacking.

To address this gap, this project will collect systematic information on critical aspects of donor governance. In doing so, it will pilot a novel hybrid research-and-learning approach involving 10 postgraduate students from the University of Glasgow and Radboud University to assist data collection and survey research.

Research leads

  • Dr Bernhard Reinsberg (University of Glasgow)
  • Dr Haley Swedlund (Radboud University)

Student team

  • Jakub Barszcz
  • Hans-Peter den Boer
  • Rachel Chowings
  • Marta Martin Grund    
  • Sanne van Helmondt   
  • Tom Howe
  • Dion Koerntjes            
  • Olaf Knoester  
  • José Pedro                              
  • Sylvia Raisanen

Funded by the Glasgow-Radboud Collaboration Fund