Strauss Center News

Updates from the Strauss Center and our affiliated distinguished scholars and fellows


Findley Publishes Research on Aid Targeting and Donor Coordination

Jul 10, 2020 |

Michael Findley, Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, recently published a research article he co-authored titled “‘The Swarm Principle’: A Sub-National Spatial Analysis of Aid Targeting and Donor Coordination in Sub-Saharan Africa.” In it, Professor Findley and his co-author Josiah F. Marineau examine “whether bilateral and multilateral aid donors target poverty at the sub-national level in five sub-Saharan African countries, and whether donor coordination… improves the quality of aid targeting.” Their work addresses a gap in existing literature: while much research on aid has focused on donor coordination at the international level, little has focused on the patterns of sub-national allocation of development aid. This focus is important as pervasive income inequalities exist in many countries, despite the fact that income inequality has decreased on the global scale. They discuss the tradeoffs between various patterns of aid dissemination at the sub-national level, such as “clustering” of aid in impoverished regions vs. diffusing aid throughout a nation. They further discuss co-financing, or facilitated aid delivery, which is one of the many recent policy innovations to attempt to increase aid effectiveness.

Findley and Marineau’s analysis utilized geocoded data for twenty-one bilateral and twenty-two multilateral donors that were included in the “Aid Management Platform” of five countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, and Senegal. This data enabled them to examine the geographic patterns of donor activities at the sub-national level as to best ascertain the quality of aid targeting, which they then compared to with the levels of co-financing. Broadly speaking, their results support prior findings that co-financing does not improve aid allocation, but they take care to note the variance across the five countries analyzed and to emphasize the need for further research. They conclude by suggesting the many issues which future work in this field could address as to best ascertain the most efficient means for targeting aid. Read the full piece here.