A Gift You Can’t Refuse? Foreign Aid, INGOs and Development in the World Polity
Studies in Emergent Order, Vol. 7, 2014
In this paper I explore the topic of whether aid is “doing more harm than good’” from a World Polity perspective. I argue that a more appropriate way to theorize and study foreign aid in the post-Cold War era is as a set of relational ties amongst donors and recipients. I contend that aid works like a gift from donors to recipients, with many strings attached. I also consider the role that INGOs are playing in the World Polity of foreign aid, which is largely that of middle management between donors and recipients. I conclude that aid is not harming development, and using a relational measure of aid relationships, that aid is actually helping improve health in developing countries. However, I also conclude that the role of INGOs needs more exploration, and that there is no evidence that having more INGOs improves development in aid recipient countries.