Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

The Institutional Economics of Foreign Aid


  • Date Published: March 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521055390

£ 31.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book is about the institutions, incentives and constraints that guide the behaviour of people and organizations involved in the implementation of foreign aid programmes. While traditional performance studies tend to focus almost exclusively on the policies and institutions in recipient countries, this book looks at incentives in the entire chain of organizations involved in the delivery of foreign aid, from donor governments and agencies to consultants, experts and other intermediaries. Four aspects of foreign aid delivery are examined in detail: incentives inside donor agencies, the interaction of subcontractors with recipient organizations, incentives inside recipient country institutions, and biases in aid performance monitoring systems.

    • New perspective on an old debate - why aid is often ineffective
    • Interesting combination of theory and practice
    • Innovative contribution to growing literature on new institutional economics, emphasizing performance problems inside the aid supply chain, rather than in the recipient countries
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'In sum, this book provides a thoughtful assessment of the institutional constraints to foreign aid. Graduate students and teachers, as well as development practitioners, will find much of interest in this book.' The Journal of Development Studies

    'The four authors demonstrate that agency theory can be successfully applied to shed light on the delivery of foreign aid. Practitioners are probably familiar with many of the problems highlighted but the book deserves credit for putting them on a sound theoretical footing.' Aussen-Wirtschaft

    'This excellent book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the factors of success and failure of foreign aid … full of interesting insights into the operation of real-world aid mechanisms. The use of agency theory gives the book considerable conceptual unity and reinforces its message … this is an excellent example of applied economics at its best, using models that deal realistically with real problems to throw light upon relevant and important questions. It should interest a large number of economists and other professionals involved in or concerned with foreign aid and development cooperation. In fact, at least the opening chapter should be made compulsory reading for all such professionals, since this would be likely both to increase their effectiveness and decrease their levels of frustration. It would also not surprise me if the publication of this book would trigger a stream of related studies …' Development and Change

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521055390
    • length: 212 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.32kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    Foreword Elinor Ostrom
    1. Introduction Bertin Martens
    2. Conflicts of objectives and task allocation in aid agencies Paul Seabright
    3. The interaction of donors, contractors and recipients in implementing aid for institutional reform Peter Murrell
    4. Embedding externally induced institutional reform Uwe Mummert
    5. The role of evaluation in foreign aid programmes Bertin Martens
    6. Some policy conclusions regarding organizations involved in foreign aid Bertin Martens

  • Authors

    Bertin Martens, European Commission
    Bertin Martens is an economist at the European Commission in Brussels. He has worked for various foreign aid organizations, including United Nations agencies and the European Commission, and he is a member of the International Society for New Institutional Economics.

    Uwe Mummert, Max Planck Institute, Jena
    Professor Uwe Mummert is a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Research into Economic Systems in Jena, Germany.

    Peter Murrell, University of Maryland, College Park
    Peter Murrell is Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland and currently holds a Chair on the Academic Council of the IRIS Center. He is the author of The Nature of Socialist Economies and Assessing the Value of Law in the Transition to Socialism, and is a contributor to various journals, including the American Economic Review and the Journal of Comparative Economics.

    Paul Seabright, Université de Toulouse
    Paul Seabright is Professor of Economics at the University of Toulouse. His many publications have focused on theoretical and applied microeconomics, and he is currently a Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research.


    Elinor Ostrom

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.