Development Aid Confronts Politics – Carothers and De Grammont (2013)


This book seeks to explain and assess the history of development aid’s attempts to think and act more politically. It sees this movement (while no panacea) as a desirable progression from the past economic-centric and technocratic approaches to development that have been taken by international agencies. The change is desirable because it should help to make development aid more effective.  The book covers:

  • The early apolitical decades of development aid
  • The opening to politics, beginning in the 1990s through the 2000s, including the reasons for this development, and changing aims and methods
  • More recent developments since the end of the 2000s, including trying to make aid politically smart, exploring both the role of explicitly political goals in aid and the unresolved debate of whether democratic governance generates better socio-economic outcomes.
  • Efforts to integrate political perspectives with traditional areas of aid focus, including health, education and agriculture, together with the pushback agencies have encountered in seeking to do so.

A final section recapitulates the story over the past 50 years and explores how current international trends are complicating efforts to advance the politics agenda.