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A public-administration specialist, he argues forcefully for prioritizing central public administration and financial management, for building capacity and implementing performance assessments, and for battling corruption; meanwhile, democratic elections, political decentralization, and privatization may have to wait. Donors must coordinate better among themselves, take a comprehensive "whole-of-government" approach, and fund sustainable projects that make a difference.

These are all defensible recommendations -- yet in presenting them as he does, Buss ignores the overwhelming crush of evidence that in fact donors have tried them all before only to confront the stubborn resistance of Haitian society. This site uses cookies to improve your user experience.

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Foreign aid is hurting, not helping Sub-Saharan Africa

In-depth analysis delivered weekly - Subscribe to our newsletter, featuring our editors' top picks from the past week. Most of this success is due to major global forces such as trade and cross-border labor mobility. But development assistance—including US aid—has made important contributions. As policymakers in the United States increasingly ask fundamental questions about the value of foreign aid investments—and as they struggle to ensure limited funds are put to best use—here is a brief take on what we know—and what we do not—about the effectiveness of US foreign assistance efforts.

This note then offers further thoughts on priorities for the structure and programming of US foreign assistance given the balance of information. While we do not have aggregate evidence of the overall effect of the US foreign assistance portfolio, there are some well-documented successes. Health is the natural place to start. Global health spending accounts for a significant portion—about 23 percent—of the US international affairs budget and has somewhat more measurable outcomes than many other foreign assistance objectives.

For instance, researchers found that vaccination programs in nearly low- and middle-income countries yield returns times the cost of the program.

Foreign aid is hurting, not helping Sub-Saharan Africa

One of the biggest in history is the Green Revolution. The transfer and adoption of new agricultural technologies in the mid- to late twentieth century partly funded by the US government is credited with saving millions of people from starvation. What about growth? On a macro level, Michael Clemens and others found that increases in aid have been followed on average by modest increases in investment and growth.

In these cases, the objective is to further the economic, security, or political foreign policy interests of the United States much of the Economic Support Fund account, for instance , not necessarily to achieve development outcomes e. Even where development outcomes are the goal, it is easy enough to find individual failed interventions PlayPumps, which received some US funding, is a well-known example. As stewards of taxpayer dollars, US government officials should generally seek to minimize spending money on projects that do not achieve the desired results.

On the other hand, failure should not be considered categorically bad.

Applied Anthropologist

This is not to gloss over the very real, pernicious reasons that contribute to failed aid programs. For example, donors may superimpose their strategic or bureaucratic priorities with insufficient regard for partner country context or the priorities of its government, citizens, and intended beneficiaries.

Though donors and developing countries have coalesced around certain principles intended to mitigate some of the problems that contribute to failure e. Failure, however, is not necessarily bad to the extent that it is a natural byproduct of experimentation to find out what does work.

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Assuming that every dollar spent will yield its anticipated results would, by definition, hamper innovation. When you consider this, failure becomes bad only when it takes place in an environment that discourages acknowledgement and discussion of poor results. The state of evidence has gotten better since then, though big gaps remain especially when you consider the limitations to applying learning across contexts—what we know worked in Bosnia might not work the same way in Liberia, for instance.

The US government has made important contributions to development learning over the last decade, as well.

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Since the release of its well-regarded evaluation policy in , USAID has released over 1, evaluations of varying quality and rigor , most of which have been used to inform programmatic decisions. In the face of proposed cuts to US foreign assistance, calls to conduct an evidence-based review of the aid portfolio are gaining traction. Program performance is also frequently raised as an important criterion to inform allocation decisions. This is eminently reasonable, though not entirely straightforward. Evaluations, which typically offer specific findings about individual programs, have limited utility in informing cross-sectoral allocations.

Comparing performance-toward-targets across different indicators should be met with similar skepticism; it is hard to know what to make of results that suggest, for instance, that only 14 percent of targeted US government-supported energy generation transactions reached closure in FY but percent of targeted host country NGOs monitoring human rights received US government support.

William Lybrand added it May 27, Christine marked it as to-read Jun 08, Aurora marked it as to-read Jan 02, Caitlin marked it as to-read Aug 19, Matthew marked it as to-read Jan 04, Gemima Joseph marked it as to-read Nov 01, Jessica Funkhouser is currently reading it Oct 17, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About Terry F. Terry F. Buss earned his doctorate in political science and mathematics at Ohio State University.

Over the past 30 years, Buss has built his career in both academics and government. In his immediate past position, he directed the program Terry F. In his immediate past position, he directed the program in International, Security and Defense Studies at the National Academy of Public Administration for five years. In , Buss worked as a senior policy advisor at the U.

From to , Buss was director of the Ph. During this period, Buss, while on leave from Akron, directed the U. Information Agency technical assistance program in Hungary for three years immediately following the fall of communism in Eastern Europe; he replicated this program in Russia from to In addition, he worked on leave with the Council of Governors Policy Advisors, an affiliate of the National Governors Association as a senior advisor.

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He also received two fellowships with the Congressional Research Service, where he authored policy studies mandated by Congress. Buss has published 12 books and nearly professional articles on a variety of policy issues. Buss has won numerous awards for research and public service, among them, Most Honored Professor of the Russian Federation. Books by Terry F. Trivia About Haiti in the Bala No trivia or quizzes yet. Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.