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Assessing Aid—What Works, What Doesn't, and Why


Report also available in Japanese and Spanish

Assessing Aid—What Works, What Doesn't, and Why summarizes the findings of a multi-year research program on aid effectiveness. Official Development Assistance declined by one-third in real terms in the 1990s. There are a number of reasons for this, but one factor has been a sense that aid does not work very well.

Assessing Aid aims to understand when aid works and when it does not, so that the lessons can be used to make aid more effective. A key theme of the report is that aid is a combination of money and ideas. Money has a big impact, but only if countries have good economic institutions and policies. The ideasor knowledge creationside of aid is critical for helping countries reform and for helping communities effectively provide public services: education, health, water supply, and others.


Assessing Aid—What Works, What Doesn't, and Why was written by David Dollar and Lant Pritchett of the World Bank Development Research Group.  It culminates a research program on aid effectiveness initiated and supervised by Lyn Squire.  Original research for this report includes work by the authors and by Craig Burnside, Klaus Deininger, Shanta Devarajan, William Easterly, Deon Filmer, Jonathan Isham, Dani Kaufmann, Elizabeth King, Jennie Litvack, Luis Serven, Lyn Squire, Vinaya Swaroop, and Jakob Svensson.


Press release (EnglishPortuguesFrancaisEspanol)

Full text (English)

Overview (English)

Powerpoint presentation (EnglishFrancaisEspanol)

Background Papers

Measuring aid flows: a new approach
Aid allocation and poverty reduction
Does Economic Analysis Improve the Quality of Foreign Assistance?
Foreign aid's impact on public spending
Aid, the incentive regime, and poverty reduction
What explains the success or failure of structural adjustment programs?
Civil Liberties, Democracy, and the Performance of Government Projects 
Aid, policies, and growth
The ghost of financing gap: how the Harrod-Domar growth model still haunts development economics
Does participation improve project performance: establishing causality with subjective data

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Last updated: 2009-09-09

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