Are Aid Agencies Improving?

45 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2007

See all articles by William Easterly

William Easterly

New York University - Department of Economics


The record of the aid agencies over time seems to indicate weak evidence of progress 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.

Suggested Citation

Easterly, William, Are Aid Agencies Improving?. Economic Policy, Vol. 22, No. 52, pp. 633-678, October 2007. Available at SSRN: or

William Easterly (Contact Author)

New York University - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

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