JBS Vol 15. Num 1. 2013 - Aid Effectiveness: Research versus Practice Never the Twain shall Meet?

M. G. Quibria

This article argues that there is a huge disconnect between empirical research and policies and practices involving foreign aid. In particular, it argues that recent years have seen the growth of a large body of sophisticated empirical work which is long on techniques and short on substance. The literature is riven by controversy and insider drama and provides little illumination on vital policy issues concerning design, allocation, and delivery of foreign aid. For enhancing aid effectiveness, one needs to go beyond the current methodology that emphasizes the “average” and promotes a one-size-fits-all approach. This will require a more nuanced, tailor-made strategy that is grounded in a comprehensive understanding of individual countries. The paper calls for the convergence of the universes of research and policies both for a sophisticated understanding of the underlying issues and for devising appropriate policies for effective use of foreign assistance.