Does Foreign Aid Really Work?

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Oxford University Press, UK, Apr 19, 2007 - Political Science - 532 pages
5 Reviews
Provided for over 60 years, and expanding more rapidly today than it has for a generation, foreign aid is now a $100bn business. But does it work? Indeed, is it needed at all? In this, first-ever, overall assessment of aid, Roger Riddell provides a rigorous but highly readable account of aid, warts and all. - ;Foreign aid is now a $100bn business and is expanding more rapidly today than it has for a generation. But does it work? Indeed, is it needed at all? Other attempts to answer this important question have been dominated by a focus on the impact of official aid provided by governments. But today possibly as much as 30 percent of aid is provided by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and over 10 percent is provided as emergency assistance. In this first-ever attempt to provide an overall assessment of aid, Roger Riddell presents a rigorous but highly readable account of aid, warts and all. Does Foreign Aid Really Work? sets out the evidence and exposes the instances where aid has failed and explains why. The book also examines the way that short-term political interests distort aid, and disentangles the moral and ethical assumptions that lie behind the belief that aid does good. The book concludes by detailing the practical ways that aid needs to change if it is to be the effective force for good that its providers claim it is. - ;This volume is a valuable resource and an important contribution to the literature on foreign aid. - Social and Behavioral sciences;Riddell provides a compelling and thorough account of the intricacies of foreign aid - International Affairs;...[an] excellent and significant book... - Alex De Waal, Times Literary Supplement;...everything anyone might want to know about the subject. - Nigel Grimwade, Times Higher Education Supplement;For anyone who wants to know more about development assistance, this is a 'must- read'. Roger Riddell provides us with a nuanced and honest outline of past and current aid-flows, their complexities, trends and possible impact. Does aid really work? His answer is a conditional, cautious - yes. And he presents some bold proposals to address some of the systemic weaknesses. It was strong international leadership that delivered the aid-reforms of the 90's. The question is whether the current leaders in development are ready for this debate? - Hilde Frafjord Johnson, former Minister of International Development of Norway;In this impressive new study, Riddell has surpassed even his distinguished Foreign Aid Reconsidered. It includes a rare and much-needed analysis of emergency and voluntary assistance. Complete and authoritative, the book will have a long life as the definitive account of its important subject. - Professor Robert Cassen, London School of Economics;This book is a heroic achievement. Not only has Roger Riddell mapped out with great clarity the arcane world of international aid, in a way that will help the practitioner as much as the general reader, he has also produced visionary and challenging recommendations for reform of the system. - Sir Michael Aaronson, former Director General of Save the Children UK

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Review: Does Foreign Aid Really Work?

User Review  - Rachel - Goodreads

Synopsis of 400 page book: yes and no, sometimes maybe. Read full review

Review: Does Foreign Aid Really Work?

User Review  - Jens - Goodreads

This is the best book on development I've ever read. Because it's not a screed, it gets a little slow at points. But it's very clear, and very convincing. It even goes so far as to make positive suggestions. Bravo. Read full review

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About the author (2007)


With degrees in economics, development studies and theology, Roger Riddell has been actively involved in development for more than 30 years. He has worked for developing country governments, for the private sector and for NGOs, and undertaken work for more than 10 leading bilateral and multilateral aid agencies and international institutions. He spent almost 15 years as a Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute in London. From 1999 to 2004, he was the International Director of Christian Aid, one of the UK's largest relief and development NGOs. Among his numerous publications, he has written two previous books on foreign aid, including (in 1987) Foreign Aid Reconsidered, widely acclaimed as a leading text on aid and development. Following its Independence in 1980, Mr. Riddell was the Chair of the first Presidential Economic Commission in Zimbabwe.

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