Development aid and dependency

with Macartan Humphreys and Peter van der Windt — Democratic Republic of Congo

Summary: Does development aid create dependencies by replacing accountability of leaders to their populations by accountability to donors?

Design: 280 communities were randomly assigned to a 4 years long Community Development Project, designed in order to create bottom up village accountability of local leaders and 280 remained in control. After 4 years of participation to the program, we introduce a short lived and independent unconditional cash transfer in treated and control villages. In this new program, we randomly assign information provided to the new self selected village development committees. Some are announced that the audit of the unconditional cash transfer at the end of the program will be shared with their populations, and the remaining villages are guaranteed privacy towards their populations. In addition, some are announced that the audit of the uncodnitional cash transfer will be shared with the donor and development community, while the others are guaranteed protection of privacy of the results from audit. By measuring leaders and populations actions, outcomes, and information about the process, this factorial design allows to examine whether development aid that is intended to create local accountability creates instead external accountability towards donors and undermines local structures of governance.

This project is at the writing phase.