Why do countries become donors?

Nilima Gulrajani (Overseas Development Institute) and I have co-authored a report for the ODI on new donor countries, their motives and the implications of donor proliferation.  The abstract is as follows:

Despite growing aid fatigue in the global North, the number of bilateral aid-providing states is at an all-time high and continues to expand. In this paper, we examine the paradox of new donor countries’ (NDCs) dramatic growth by asking two questions. First, what is driving donor proliferation? And second, what sort of donors are emerging from this rapid increase? Drawing on sociological theories of normative diffusion, we argue that an important driver is the desire to legitimise one’s reputation as an advanced and influential state. We study the consequences of donor proliferation through a quantitative analysis of 26 NDCs, comparing their achievements to those of traditional donors on three metrics of aid quantity and quality. Our results reveal that NDCs may be adopting the traditional donor form, but not its associated functions and responsibilities, creating a gap between policy intent and practical implementation. While NDCs are contributing to global development’s ongoing viability, vigilance is required to preserve its robustness.

Click here to read more: https://www.odi.org/publications/10747-why-do-countries-become-donors-assessing-drivers-and-implications-donor-proliferation

World Society and Foreign Aid

I am excited to report that a new article I first posted about earlier in 2016 (here) is now in print in the latest issue of the journal Sociology of Development

Here is the abstract:

This article analyzes the relationship between foreign aid and globalization to explain developing-country ties to world society and argues that foreign aid can be viewed as a recursive mechanism through which donor states refine and spread international norms and organizational ties. Using network data on foreign aid relationships between countries, this article analyzes the effects of aid on human rights treaty ratification and international organization memberships in a sample of 135 less-developed countries from the period of 1975–2008. Results of random effects panel regression models show that increased aid network centrality brokers increased country ties to world society, supporting a novel interpretation of foreign aid as a transnational process of political globalization.


NAYD Interview: Foreign Aid in the post-2015 Development Phase

In October I was interviewed by one of my graduate students (Judyannet Muchiri) for the Network of African Youth for Development (NAYD: www.nayd.org).  She asked a series of questions about aid and the sustainable development goals among other topics.

Read more here:


Updated: Retaining the Canadian Journal of Development Studies @ MUN

UPDATED (Nov. 17):

I received word from the Library and the Dean of HSS that the CJDS subscription will be maintained. Thanks to everyone who took the time to voice your support for keeping the journal.



My readers who are faculty and students at MUN are well aware of the ongoing round of cuts to academic journal subscriptions that are being pursued by the MUN library to cut costs.

Reviewing the most recent list of proposed cuts, I was dismayed to see the Canadian Journal of Development Studies (CJDS) remained on the chopping block despite the fact that it is the flagship journal of the sole academic association for development studies in Canada (CASID)  and that its subscription rate is quite modest compared to many other titles.

I had previsouly encouraged the library to retain the CJDS for these and other reasons, but it appears that there may not have been a critical mass of researchers and students vouching for this important interdiscplinary title.

As an institition without a dedicated development studies program, it will become even more difficult at Memorial to teach and research using the most current Canadian development research if this subscription is cancelled.

I ask all those of you who are involved in development-related research at MUN, even peripherally, to voice support to retain the CJDS directly to the library, to your departmental library rep, and to the Dean’s office in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Here are some e-mail addresses to include in your correspondence: 

It is important for development scholars at MUN to show the library that we require key resources to pursue our research and teaching at the highest level, even if we are relatively few in number.

Aid Networks & Global Ties

This article was recently accepted for publication in Social Science Research. In it, I explore the relationship between aid ties and other global ties to international actors. Complementing some of my earlier research on this subject, it shows that the more tied to world society a country is, the more donors will provide it bilateral aid.

Here is the abstract:

This article examines competing explanations for foreign aid allocation on the global level and argues for a new approach to understanding aid from an institutionalist perspective. Using network data on all official bilateral aid relationships between countries in the period from 1975 through 2006 and data on recipient country ties to world society, the article offers an alternative explanation for the allocation of global foreign aid. Fixed effects negative binomial regression models on a panel sample of 117 developing countries reveal that global ties to world society in the form of non-governmental memberships and treaty ratifications are strong determinants of the network centrality of recipient countries in the global foreign aid network. Countries with a higher level of adherence and connection to world society norms and organizations are shown to be the beneficiaries of an increased number of aid relationships with wealthy donor countries. The findings also suggest that prior explanations of aid allocation grounded in altruist or realist motivations are insufficient to account for the patterns of aid allocation seen globally in recent years.

UPDATE: The advance copy of this article is now available on the SSR site: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2016.09.011

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