Does Foreign Aid Really Work?

Does Foreign Aid Really Work?

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Foreign aid is now a $100bn business and is expanding more rapidly today than it has for a generation. But does it work? Indeed, is it needed at all? Other attempts to answer these important questions have been dominated by a focus on the impact of official aid provided by governments. But today possibly as much as 30 percent of aid is provided by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and over 10 percent is provided as emergency assistance. In this first-ever attempt to provide an overall assessment of aid, Roger Riddell presents a rigorous but highly readable account of aid, warts and all. Does Foreign Aid Really Work? sets out the evidence and exposes the instances where aid has failed and explains why. The book also examines the way that politics distorts aid, and disentangles the moral and ethical assumptions that lie behind the belief that aid does good. The book concludes by detailing the practical ways that aid needs to change if it is to be the effective force for good that its providers claim it is.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 536 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 30mm | 821g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, black & white tables, figures
  • 0199544468
  • 9780199544462
  • 117,615

Review quote

'In this impressive new study, Riddell has surpassed even his distinguished Foreign Aid Reconsidered. It includes a rare and much-needed analysis of emergency and voluntary assistance. Complete and authoritative, the book will have a long life as the definitive account of its important subject.' * Professor Robert Cassen, London School of Economics * 'This book is a heroic achievement. Not only has Roger Riddell mapped out with great clarity the arcane world of international aid, in a way that will help the practitioner as much as the general reader, he has also produced visionary and challenging recommendations for reform of the system.' * Sir Michael Aaronson, former Director General of Save the Children UK * 'For anyone who wants to know more about development assistance, this is a 'must- read'. Roger Riddell provides us with a nuanced and honest outline of past and current aid-flows, their complexities, trends and possible impact. Does aid really work? His answer is a conditional, cautious - yes. And he presents some bold proposals to address some of the systemic weaknesses. It was strong international leadership that delivered the aid-reforms of the 90's. The question
is whether the current leaders in development are ready for this debate?' * Hilde Frafjord Johnson, former Minister of International Development of Norway * 'Riddell provides a compelling and thorough account of the intricacies of foreign aid. The strength of this book is that it establishes the positive attributes of aid without avoiding the need to critically assess its failures. Through a combination of personal experience, conceptual insight and empirical substance, Riddell demonstrates that investigating whether foreign aid works could ensure its future, rather than undermining it.' * Sara E. Davis, International Affairs * 'Roger Riddell's text provides the single best introduction to the history and range of contemporary debates associated with foreign aid, including the rise of international NGOs as major actors and the centrality of domestic politics to shaping aid practice.' * John Gershman, Foreign Affairs * '...essential reading for anyone interested in the subject of aid and wishing to be informed about the issues involved.' * Nigel Grimwade, Times Higher Education Supplement * '...[an] excellent and significant book...' * Alex De Waal, Times Literary Supplement *
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About Roger C. Riddell

Roger Riddell is a Non-Executive Director of Oxford Policy Management and a Principle of The Policy Practice. He was Chair of the first Presidential Economic Commission of Independent Zimbabwe in 1980, and Chief Economist of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries from 1981-83. From 1984 to 1998, he was a senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute, London and for five years to 2004 was International Director of Christian Aid.
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Table of contents

1. 'A Good Thing?' ; PART I: THE COMPLEX WORLDS OF FOREIGN AID ; 2. The origins and early decades of aid-giving ; 3. Aid-giving from the 1970s to the present ; 4. The growing web of bilateral aid donors ; 5. The complexities of multilateral aid ; PART II: WHY IS AID GIVEN? ; 6. The political and commercial dimensions of aid ; 7. Public support for aid ; 8. Charity or duty? The moral case for aid ; 9. The moral case for governments and individuals to provide aid ; PART III: DOES AID REALLY WORK? ; 10. Assessing and measuring the impact of aid ; 11. The impact of official development aid projects ; 12. The impact of programme aid, technical assistance and aid for capacity development ; 13. The impact of aid at the country and cross-country level ; 14. Assesing the impact of aid conditionality ; 15. Does official development aid really work? A summing up ; 16. NGOs in development and the impact of discrete NGO development interventions ; 17. The wider impact of non-governmental and civil society organizations ; 18. The growth of emergencies and the humanitarian response ; 19. The impact of emergency and humanitarian aid ; PART IV: TOWARDS A DIFFERENT FUTURE FOR AID ; 20. Why aid isn't working ; 21. Making aid work better by implementing agreed reforms ; 22. Making aid work better by recasting aid relationships
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Review Text

'...[an] excellent and significant book...' Alex De Waal, Times Literary Supplement
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Rating details

54 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 20% (11)
4 50% (27)
3 22% (12)
2 7% (4)
1 0% (0)
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