Studio Reading Exercise

For my studio today, I challenged the students to prepare a review of 11 international development-related reports and papers (listed below). The combination of these documents led to some interesting discussions about the purpose of development assistance (from public, non-governmental, and private entities) and the emerging trends that are occurring within the sector. In the list below, I have included some of the questions the students raised after reviewing each reading. Please feel free to respond to any of these questions if you have an interest in this subject matter.

Studio Reading Exercise

1. World Bank (2015) World Development Report: Mind, Society, and Behavior.

  • What areas of international development do think stand to benefit from a greater consideration of psychological and social behavioral drivers?
  • Do you think development efforts focusing on human behavior and decision making will be more effective at a global, national, community, or person-to-person scale?

2. World Bank (2014) World Development Report: Risk and Opportunity.

  • Would the creation of a transnational risk board be more effective at the international or regional level?

3. Oxfam (2011) The Politics of Partnership: How donors manage risk while letting recipients lead their own development.

  • How feasible are partnerships involving the management of risk? Could they end up doing more harm than good?

4. Brinkerhoff, D. W. (2010) Developing Capacity in Fragile States.

  • With limited resources, is it possible to balance short term stability with long term development in a fragile state?
  • In fragile states with pressure to provide a quick response, how can interventions reach people without undermining the government?

5. Global Health Strategies initiatives (GHSi) (2012) How the BRICS are reshaping global health and development.

  • Although this paper focused on health related issues, the proposal to create a “multilateral bank that would be exclusively funded by developing nations and finance projects in those countries” was mentioned. This proposal has been explored further since this paper was published, and it has been said that the BRICS bank could rival the World Bank. What types of impacts could a BRICS bank have?

6. Kharas, H. and Rogerson, A. (2012) Horizon 2025. Creative destruction in the aid industry.

  • If you were directing an aid agency, what strategies would you use to remain nimble/adaptable? How would you monitor your relevance or vulnerability as global needs and the aid landscape changes over time? What are the benchmarks or red flags that might convey your relevance or stagnancy as an institution?
  • This paper is based on finance driving and shaping international development. To what extent do you agree that this is true?

7. European Commission (2011) Aid Effectiveness 2011. Progress in Implementing the Paris Declaration.

  • What are the key challenges to delivering effective aid? How might these challenges be met to improve aid effectiveness?
  • How would the design of national development strategies for aid effectiveness affect other development objectives and goals?

8. OECD (2014) Making Development Co-operation More Effective – 2014 Progress Report

  • Different countries have different cultures and values. Thus, different priorities can be set concerning development co-operation principles. How can we approach these differences constructively in the monitoring process?
  • The Busan Partnership Agreement is a voluntary commitment. Would a more compulsory agreement be a more effective way to meet the specified targets?

9. Zimmermann, F. and Smith, K. (2011) More Actors, More Money, More Ideas for International Development Co‐operation.

  • How can we prevent aid fragmentation between DAC and non-DAC aid recipients?

10. USAID (2013) USAID’S Legacy in Agricultural Development: 50 Years of Progress.

  • In addition to measuring income and higher productivity, how else could we assess the long-term effectiveness of agriculture development? 

11. USAID (2014) 50 Years of Global Health: Saving Lives and Building Futures.

  • What are some of the failures in international development? Do you think the changes are as positive as those documents in the report?