Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Harmony and discord: International aid harmonization and donor state domestic influence. The case of Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency
by Lalonde, Jennifer, Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, 2009, 281; 3395662
Abstract (Summary)

Through a case study of Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) this dissertation explores how state-centered domestic factors in donor states - namely government-wide rules and procedures, government decision-making processes, government interests and organizational positioning in government - affect the capacity of aid agencies to harmonize bilaterally-based international assistance in recipient countries. I employ a mixed methods approach involving qualitative analyses of international studies on aid effectiveness, the public documentation of aid agencies and focus interviews with stakeholders within and outside of the Canadian federal government. Throughout, I treat donor harmonization as a contemporary aid effectiveness idea within a shifting international aid regime and analyze it in terms of how its translation into practice in bilateral programming is shaped by the domestic context in which CIDA is embedded.

The results of this plausibility probe reveal that while Canadian progress on donor harmonization over the past decade is occurring, rectifiable domestic factors on the Canadian side continue to delay progress on the ground. In particular, I find that the government-wide rules and procedures CIDA follows increasingly favor donor harmonization over time. The multiple actors involved in approving projects and programs, on the contrary, stunt decision-making processes regarding donor harmonization. These actors bring to such decisions different expectations or interpretations of the many government based rules, procedures and directives CIDA is to follow; risk appetites; and knowledge about development assistance and contemporary aid delivery approaches such as donor harmonization. Third, government interests have mixed inconsistent effects on donor harmonization. CIDA's organizational positioning, moreover, reduces its leveraging capacity within government and in support of emerging practices promoted by the international development assistance regime. Finally, at a macro-level, my research reveals the important influence of agency, highlighting the power individuals have to move the aid effectiveness agenda forward or, inadvertently, set it back.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Keck, Margaret
School: The Johns Hopkins University
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 71/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: International Relations, Political science, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Aid effectiveness, CIDA - Canadian International Development Agency, Canadian International Development Agency, Development assistance, Donor harmonization, Foreign aid
Publication Number: 3395662
ISBN: 978-1-109-58537-7
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