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TNGO presents: Haley Swedlund

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Haley Swedlund on Dicey Donors: How donor commitment problems can explain changing foreign aid practices

Haley Swedlund, Assistant Professor, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherland

Several puzzling facts about contemporary foreign aid practices can be explained as a consequence of donor commitment problems. In particular, I consider the adoption of budget support – or a direct resource transfer of aid funds into the recipient country’s treasury. Using a simple model of aid policy bargaining and data from interviews with key decision-makers in Rwanda and Tanzania, I argue that (1) recipient governments are willing to grant donors greater influence over development policy decision making in exchange for more credible donor promises, and (2) donors are willing to limit the tools they use to address contentious issues in exchange for more influence.

Haley Swedlund received her PhD from the Department of Political Science at the Maxwell School in 2011 and is now an Assistant Professor at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Her current research develops and tests a theoretical framework for understanding donor-government relations and institutional change in foreign aid. She has conducted interviews with key decision makers involved in aid policy bargaining in Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as a large-scale survey of top-level donor officials in twenty countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sponsored by the Transnational NGO Initiative at the  Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs 

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To mark our centennial in the fall of 2024, the Maxwell School will hold special events and engagement opportunities to celebrate the many ways—across disciplines and borders—our community ever strives to, as the Oath says, “transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

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