This paper studies foreign assistance programs called Results-Based Aid (RBA) in which one government disburses funds to another for achieving an outcome. At least four theories are typically advanced to explain how RBA increases program effectiveness: by appealing to governments pecuniary interests to shift domestic priorities, by drawing the attention of politicians and managers to results, by establishing accountability to constituents; and by giving recipients discretion to engage in local problem-solving. Using four case studies – from GAVI, the Amazon Fund, Ethiopian Secondary Education and Salud Mesoamérica – the paper analyzes program features to show which of these theories are being applied and what we can learn about the effectiveness of the RBA approach.
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Author/s: Rita Perakis, William Savedoff
Date of Publication: February 2015