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Policy Research Report: Assessing Aid—What Works, What Doesn't, and Why (1998)


Report also available in Japanese and Spanish.

This policy research report summarizes the findings of a multi-year research program on aid effectiveness. Official Development Assistance declined by one-third in real terms in the 1990s. There are a number of reasons for this, but one factor has been a sense that aid does not work very well.

Assessing Aid aims to understand when aid works and when it does not, so that the lessons can be used to make aid more effective. A key theme of the report is that aid is a combination of money and ideas. Money has a big impact, but only if countries have good economic institutions and policies. The ideas—or knowledge creation—side of aid is critical for helping countries reform and for helping communities effectively provide public services: education, health, water supply, and others.


Assessing Aid—What Works, What Doesn't, and Why was written by David Dollar and Lant Pritchett of the World Bank Development Research Group. It culminates a research program on aid effectiveness initiated and supervised by Lyn Squire. Original research for this report includes work by the authors and by Craig Burnside, Klaus Deininger, Shanta Devarajan, William Easterly, Deon Filmer, Jonathan Isham, Dani Kaufmann, Elizabeth King, Jennie Litvack, Luis Serven, Lyn Squire, Vinaya Swaroop, and Jakob Svensson.


Press release (English, Portugues, Francais, Espanol)

Full text (English)

Overview (English)

Powerpoint presentation (English, Francais, Espanol)


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