Are Aid Agencies Improving?

September 2006
William Easterly
Economic Policy, Vol. 22, No. 52, 633-678.

Are Aid Agencies Improving?
The record of the aid agencies over time seems to indicate weak evidence of progress over time in response to learning from experience, new knowledge, or changes in political
climate. The few positive results are an increased sensitivity to per capita income of the recipient (although it happened long ago) a decline in the share of food aid, and a decline in aid tying. Most of the other evidence -- increasing donor fragmentation, unchanged emphasis on technical assistance, little or no sign of increased selectivity with respect to policies and institutions, the adjustment lending-debt relief imbroglio -- suggests an unchanged status quo, lack of response to new knowledge, and repetition of past mistakes.