Foreign Aid for Development

Issues, Challenges, and the New Agenda

Foreign aid is one of the few topics in the development discourse with such an uninterrupted, yet volatile history in terms of interest and attention from academics, policymakers, and practitioners alike. Does aid work in promoting growth and reducing poverty in the developing world? Will a new 'big push' approach accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals or will another opportunity be missed? Can the lessons of almost half a century of aid giving be learnt? These are important questions in view of the emerging new landscape in foreign aid and recent developments related to the global financial crisis. Against this shifting aid landscape, there is a pressing need to evaluate progress to date and shed new light on emerging issues and agendas. This volume brings together leading aid experts to review the progress achieved so far, identify the challenges ahead, and discuss the emerging policy agenda in foreign aid. A central conclusion of this important and timely volume is that, since development aid remains crucial for many developing countries, a huge effort is needed from both donors and aid recipients to overcome the inefficiencies and make aid work better for poor people.

Table of contents
  1. Part I: Foreign Aid for Development
    Introduction and Overview
    George Mavrotas
  2. Part I: Foreign Aid for Development
    Aid, Growth, and Development
    Finn Tarp
  3. Part II: Enhancing Aid Effectiveness
    Toward the Enhanced Effectiveness of Foreign Aid
    Gustav Ranis
    More Working Paper | Toward the Enhanced Effectiveness of Foreign Aid
  4. Part II: Enhancing Aid Effectiveness
    Reconstructing the Aid Effectiveness Debate
    Machiko Nissanke
  5. Part III: Aid to Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries
    The Implications of Horizontal Inequality for Aid
    Graham Brown, Frances Stewart, Arnim Langer
    More Working Paper | The Implications of Horizontal Inequality for Aid
  6. Part III: Aid to Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries
    Conflict Prevention as a Policy Objective of Development Aid
    Sakiko Fukuda-Parr
    More Working Paper | Rethinking the Policy Objectives of Development Aid
  7. Part III: Aid to Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries
    Aid to Fragile States: Do Donors Help or Hinder?
    Stephen Browne
    More Working Paper | Aid to Fragile States
  8. Part III: Aid to Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries
    Foreign Aid and Economic Development in Postwar Lebanon
    Ghassan Dibeh
    More Working Paper | Foreign Aid and Economic Development in Postwar Lebanon
  9. Part IV: Aid Modalities
    Can New Aid Modalities Handle Politics?
    Arjan de Haan, Max Everest-Phillips
    More Working Paper | Can New Aid Modalities Handle Politics?
  10. Part IV: Aid Modalities
    Monitoring and Evaluation Reform under Changing Aid Modalities
    Nathalie Holvoet, Robrecht Renard
    More Working Paper | Monitoring and Evaluation Reform under Changing Aid Modalities
  11. Part IV: Aid Modalities
    Practical and Theoretical Implications of the Joint Evaluation of General Budget Support
    Michael Hubbard
    More Working Paper | Entitlement, Rules, Coordination, Club, Market and Hierarchy - General Budget Support Practice and Theory
  12. Part IV: Aid Modalities
    New Aid Modalities and Reporting Support for Child Rights: Lessons from Assessing Aid for Basic Social Services
    Eva Jespersen, Julia Benn
    More Working Paper | Issues to Consider in Assessing International Support for Realizing Children’s Rights
  13. Part IV: Aid Modalities
    Big Push versus Absorptive Capacity: How to Reconcile the Two Approaches
    Patrick Guillaumont, Sylviane Guillaumont Jeanneney
    More Working Paper | Big Push versus Absorptive Capacity
  14. Part IV: Aid Modalities
    Aid and Rent-Driven Growth: Mauritania, Kenya and Mozambique Compared
    Richard M. Auty
    More Working Paper | Aid and Rent-Driven Growth
Show all

'This important volume should be required reading for aid scholars and practitioners, and for the general reader interested in aid issues. The much discussed questions of whether aid is really effective, and in what ways, receive sophisticated and new analysis here. The editor is himself one of the leading researchers in the field. The debate has been going on a long time, but the questions and the answers have changed, and there are many new insights in this volume about what can and should be done to make aid a better instrument for serving the poor. If you want to know what today's aid debate is all about, this is where you will find the essential materials.' - Prof Robert Cassen, London School of Economics and author of Does Aid Work?

'This is an important new contribution to the debate over the effectiveness of foreign aid. It brings together leading academics to assess the current state of the debate over aid. The chapters set forth the latest controversies over the problems associated with foreign aid, from the new selectivity criteria to aid's role in fragile and war torn states. In addition to elucidating the most recent scholarship on aid, the volume also contributes to policy makers' knowledge about aid effectiveness and its delivery. The final sections explore in detail various mechanisms for improving accountability and effective implementation of aid, especially in politically challenging environments. This book is a must have for academics and policy makers interested in the future of foreign assistance to the developing world.'- Helen Milner, B.C. Forbes Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University and Director of Niehaus Centre for Globalization and Governance at Woodrow Wilson

'This important collection of papers will provide much value-added for those already steeped in the aid literature. It will be a gold mine for students looking for supplementary materials. All will find it topical and stimulating. I hope it attracts the wide attention it deserves.' - Tony Killick (OBE), Senior Research Associate, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), UK

'This book, edited by a leading expert in the field, brings together a number of essays written by leading figures in the analysis of foreign aid. The diverse nature of issues and views, and the depth of analysis, make it an essential reading for anyone interested in the welfare of the "bottom billion.' - Sajal Lahiri, Vandeveer Professor of Economics, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

'The glaring gaps in human development across countries of the world are among the reasons why the interest in foreign aid remains one of the most hotly debated topics in development discourse. On the eve of the final phase through the 2015 MDG targets, the debates are as live as ever. In a literature that is driven by ideological divides and constrained by empirical difficulties, this volume is a welcome and major step forward in helping to clarify what we know and the challenges ahead. The distinct focus on aspects of most interest to policy makers, like aid effectiveness, management and modalities, underlines its relevance and value to a broad audience of practitioners and students of development.' - Jeni Klugman, Director, Human Development Report Office, United Nations Development Programme, New York

'In recent years the old question 'does aid work?' has gained new interest as it has become linked to the debate on how to achieve the UN's Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Many will say more aid is needed, but there are questions about for instance the volatility of aid or the absorption capacity of recipient countries. The present volume brings together contributions from leading experts who discuss the state of the art in this area and contribute to emerging policy agendas. In doing so, they bring evidence that on the one hand there are inefficiencies in foreign aid for development but also that on the other hand there are possibilities to overcome such deficiencies. As such this book is a must-read for all those concerned with the enhancement of the effectiveness of aid.' - Prof. Dr. Luk Van Langenhove, Director, United Nations University, Institute for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

'The question of foreign aid has returned to center stage. The moralistic prescriptions that aid must be given simply as a duty, and the technocratic assertions that aid will necessarily lead to development, have been challenged by many in the receiving countries such as Dambisa Moyo, who raise the old issues of "absorptive capacity" and even claim that aid does harm. These debates are old but now have a new cogency. This book comes at the right time and is a refreshing contribution to this debate.' - Padma Desai, Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Comparative Economic Systems, Columbia University, USA