Adjusting indices of donor aid quality

Working and discussion papers
May 2012
Matthew Geddes

Three recent exercises ranking the ‘quality’ of donors have produced three new indices of donor aid quality. They reflect a resurgence of the comparative analysis of donor practice, focusing on aid quality issues, value for money, and transparency.

This Background Note suggests three potential adjustments to improve the quality of the evidence:

  • The three exercises combine indicators repre­senting ‘international best practice’ as a proxy for the impact of aid; including recipient perspectives would provide a more direct measure of impact.
  • The impact of an aid-delivery approach is con­text specific (a practice that is effective in one country may not be in another) but none of the exercises reflect this.
  • Measuring the performance of donors in each aid-recipient country relative to others would aid in measuring effectiveness.

Examples are outlined that show how these adjustments change the ranking of the donors, and have a direct impact on the results produced.

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