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Aid fragmentation or aid pluralism? The effect of multiple donors on child survival in developing countries, 1990-2010

Han, Lu and Koenig-Archibugi, Mathias (2015) Aid fragmentation or aid pluralism? The effect of multiple donors on child survival in developing countries, 1990-2010. World Development. ISSN 0305-750X

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.07.014


The typical developing country receives official development aid from a large and often increasing number of donors, generating what policy-makers and observers now commonly refer to as “aid fragmentation”. Existing research on fragmentation stresses its negative impact on the ability of aid recipients to improve development outcomes: it wastes administrative resources and makes it more difficult for donors to overcome collective action problems, leading them to fund their own projects rather than providing budget support, poach capable managers from the recipient’s administration, release funds without adequate checks, and tie aid to purchases from the donor. By contrast, this paper examines the potential benefits from having a multiplicity of donors, drawing on recent theories of “collective wisdom” to argue that the greater diversity of perspectives that larger numbers of donors entail can help select better policies. We hypothesise a U-shaped relationship: countries with a moderate number of donors fare better than countries with either few or many donors. The hypothesis is supported by a generalized method of moments (GMM) analysis of the relationship between health aid and child survival in 110 low and middle income countries between 1990 and 2010.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
Divisions: Government
International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Government
Departments > International Relations
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2015 10:16
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 03:12
Funders: Agence Française de Développement

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