Does Aid Really Help? The Nexus Between Development Aid and State-Society Resilience in Fragile Situations
Date of Submission
Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management (Ph.D. INCM)
Dr. Volker Franke
Dr. Brandon D. Lundy
Dr. Charity Butcher
Dr. Patrick Safran
This study aims to determine how development aid impacts state-society resilience, and how such resilience impacts aid flows in fragile situations. It particularly examines if development aid builds state-society resilience in fragile situations listed in the harmonized list of World Bank, African Development Bank, and Asian Development Bank from 2006 to 2018. Results show that development aid causes a decrease in state-society resilience, while state-society resilience causes an increase in aid flows. Aid for governance and human development weakens resilience. Better governance and peace levels curb aid flows, while higher human development levels boost aid flows. Economic growth is neither relevant to resilience levels nor aid flows.
This study highlights the strong causal link between aid for governance and human development and state-society resilience. Results show that aid hurts a fragile situation but not too painfully, and that fragility is mainly attributed to violent conflict, ethnic fractionalization, and natural disasters. The study concludes that the slight negative impact of aid can be reversed through altering the development approach from hierarchical to concentric. As an alternative to the hierarchical model of development, where one intervention progresses from one stage to another, a concentric model is proposed, where governance and human development are at the core, which can create a ripple effect to sustainable peace and economic growth. Targeted assistance is therefore needed, which is to strengthen governance by improving public policies and institutions, and enhancing human development by empowering the society to collaborate with the state in achieving sustainable development goals.