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Compete or Coordinate? Aid Fragmentation and Lead Donorship


  • Steinwand, Martin C.


Donor proliferation and the fragmentation of aid delivery is an important problem besetting foreign aid policy. Increased donor coordination is widely seen as a fix to this problem. This article explores theoretically and empirically the collective action problems and incentives that donors face when coordinating their actions, based on the distinction between private and public goods properties of aid. I introduce the concept of lead donorship, develop a measure that accounts for the exclusive and long-lasting ties between a lead donor and a recipient country, and show that lead donorship is in long-term decline. I test my theory combining spatial autoregressive (SAR) models, nonparametric model discrimination techniques, and data on aid delivery channels. I recover evidence of collusion in the provision of private goods aid in the presence of a lead donor, and lack of coordination and competition in the absence of a lead donor.

Suggested Citation

  • Steinwand, Martin C., 2015. "Compete or Coordinate? Aid Fragmentation and Lead Donorship," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(2), pages 443-472, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:69:y:2015:i:02:p:443-472_00

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    4. repec:spr:revint:v:12:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11558-017-9273-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Öhler, Hannes, 2017. "A micro-level analysis of the effects of aid fragmentation and aid alignment," Discussion Papers 7/2017, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
    6. repec:eee:wdevel:v:120:y:2019:i:c:p:15-28 is not listed on IDEAS
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    9. repec:bla:devpol:v:35:y:2017:i:4:p:531-548 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Clarke,Daniel Jonathan & Wren-Lewis,Liam, 2016. "Solving commitment problems in disaster risk finance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7720, The World Bank.
    11. repec:spr:revint:v:12:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11558-017-9275-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Cécile Couharde & Fatih Karanfil & Eric Gabin Kilamaa & Luc Désiré Omgbaa, 2017. "The Importance of Oil in the Allocation of Foreign Aid: The case of the G7 donors," EconomiX Working Papers 2017-40, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    13. Bernhard Reinsberg & Centre for Business Research, 2018. "Blockchain Technology and the Governance of Foreign Aid," Working Papers wp505, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.

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