The aid business has long grappled with the trade-off between showing results and supporting a country's own institution-building. Donors want to be sure that their money makes a difference, and often quickly. But close monitoring raises costs and pushing for quick results leads to projects that bypass or even undermine domestic institutions that are crucial to development. In Payments for Progress: A Hands-Off Approach to Foreign Aid, Owen Barder, now director of Global Development Effectiveness at the United Kingdom Department for International Development, and CGD president Nancy Birdsall propose solving this problem by having donors pay for proven progress towards such agreed goals as additional children completing school and additional kilometers of roads built. How to achieve these goals would be left to the aid recipient government. They suggest this approach may be particularly useful in fragile states. Learn more
It is sometimes claimed that big surges in aid might cause Dutch Disease--an appreciation of the real exchange rate which can slow the growth of a country's exports--and that aid increases might thereby harm a country's long-term growth prospects. In this new working paper CGD senior program associate Owen Barder argues that it is unlikely that a long-term, sustained and predictable increase in aid would, through the impact on the real exchange rate, do more harm than good. Learn more
Donor countries have pledged to increase aid by 60 percent over the next five years, and larger increases would be needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Can developing countries use more aid effectively? In this new working paper, CGD senior program associate Owen Barder argues that the obstacles to effective use of significantly increased aid can be overcome by a small number of practical improvements in how aid is provided and used. Learn More
While the importance of vaccines is increasingly well-understood, significant challenges inhibit increases in basic immunization coverage, introduction of underused vaccines and development of new vaccines. In this brief, Owen Barder describes these challenges and analyses five innovative policy responses. He argues that these constitute a consistent package of measures that benefit from the institutional umbrella of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization—and suggests that there may be lessons for other types of development aid. Learn More
This new working paper by Owen Barder and Ethan Yeh analyzes the benefits and costs of frontloading and predictability, two innovative features of the International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm). The paper concludes that taken together, predictability and front-loading increase the health impact of vaccine coverage by 22 percent, even taking account of the additional cost of finance. By delivering the same money better, about two million extra lives will be saved.