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On the Non-Contractual Nature of Donor-Recipient Interaction in Development Assistance


  • S. Mansoob Murshed


The author analyzes three issues in strategic donor-recipient interaction motivated by the complexity of the rationale underlying aid. The first is when we have several principals with conflicting objectives. Any one principal cannot offer high powered incentives to the agent to carry out his or her designated task. The second is to do with the fact that effort associated with ensuring aid effectiveness may concern both principal and agent, the optimal solution to which requires cooperative behavior that is difficult to design. Consequently, the contractual type principal-agent relationship between donors and recipients is inappropriate. We need to consider models that signal recipient quality or commitment to reform. Thus, thirdly, a simple model of signaling with commitment problems is presented, along with extensions to multiple types of agent and time periods, as well as possible solutions involving mechanism design. Copyright 2009 The Author. Journal compilation 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • S. Mansoob Murshed, 2009. "On the Non-Contractual Nature of Donor-Recipient Interaction in Development Assistance," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(s1), pages 416-428, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:13:y:2009:i:s1:p:416-428

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Alberto Alesina & Beatrice Weder, 2002. "Do Corrupt Governments Receive Less Foreign Aid?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1126-1137, September.
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    7. Sajal Lahiri & Pascalis Raimondos-Møller, 2004. "Donor Strategy under the Fungibility of Foreign Aid," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(2), pages 213-231, July.
    8. Boone, Peter, 1996. "Politics and the effectiveness of foreign aid," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 289-329, February.
    9. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 2002. "Aid allocation and poverty reduction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1475-1500, September.
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    12. George Mavrotas, 2005. "Aid heterogeneity: looking at aid effectiveness from a different angle," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(8), pages 1019-1036.
    13. Khilji, Nasir M. & Zampelli, Ernest M., 1994. "The fungibility of U.S. military and non-military assistance and the impacts on expenditures of major aid recipients," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 345-362, April.
    14. Feyzioglu, Tarhan & Swaroop, Vinaya & Zhu, Min, 1998. "A Panel Data Analysis of the Fungibility of Foreign Aid," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(1), pages 29-58, January.
    15. William Easterly, 2003. "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 23-48, Summer.
    16. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Henrik Hansen & Finn Tarp, 2004. "On The Empirics of Foreign Aid and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(496), pages 191-216, June.
    17. Swaroop, Vinaya & Jha, Shikha & Sunil Rajkumar, Andrew, 2000. "Fiscal effects of foreign aid in a federal system of governance: The case of India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 307-330, September.
    18. Paul Collier & David Dollar, 2004. "Development effectiveness: what have we learnt?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(496), pages 244-271, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. George Mavrotas, 2011. "Security and Development: Delving Deeper into the Nexus," Chapters,in: Security and Development, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Lodewijk Smets & Stephen Knack & Nadia Molenaers, 2013. "Political ideology, quality at entry and the success of economic reform programs," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 447-476, December.
    3. Oliveira Cruz, Valeria & McPake, Barbara, 2010. "The "aid contract" and its compensation scheme: A case study of the performance of the Ugandan health sector," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(7), pages 1357-1365, October.

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