Adjusting indices of donor aid quality
By Matthew Geddes
The contribution of aid to development depends on both the volume of resources and on the effectiveness of delivery. Three recent exercises ranking the ‘quality’ of donors (Easterly and Williamson, 2011; Knack et al., 2011; Birdsall et al., 2010) recognise this and have produced indices of donor aid quality (Box 1). They reflect a resurgence of the comparative analysis of donor practice, focussing on aid quality issues, value for money, and transparency. Their evidence is a valuable starting point for discussions of donor practices, and all three stimulate comparative learning and peer pressure as a tool for improved practice.
Similar index methodologies are used by donors for aid allocation decisions, including the recent multilateral aid review by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), with direct influence on the spending of millions of dollars of aid. As more use is made of these methods, their results and the questions they raise increase in importance.
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