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Aid and Development

4. Aid Effectiveness and Aid Critics

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about how aid effectiveness is assessed, and arguments made by critics of aid. In particular, we focus on: (i) how aid effectiveness is conceptualised and some challenges associated with assessing aid projects’ effectiveness; (ii) the “great aid debate” between aid radicals who argue that aid should be discontinued and aid reformers; (iii) the arguments of right-wing aid radicals who consider aid to be state interference in the market; (iv) aid radicals on the left who criticise aid for failing to challenge global capitalism and prioritising economic growth over environmental issues.


In this course, Dr Nilima Gulrajani (Overseas Development Institute) explores global aid and its relationship to development. In the first module, we consider the emergence of the modern global aid system from mid-twentieth century. In the second, we think about states’ motivations for giving aid and the proliferation of aid providers from the global south. In the third module, we look at how aid is defined, focusing especially on the Development Assistance Committee’s definition of Overseas Development Assistance. In the fourth and fifth modules, we focus on aid effectiveness and the debate between aid radicals, who argue that aid should be discontinued, and aid reformers who seek to improve the aid system. In the final module, we consider UK aid policy and the global rise of aid nationalism.


Dr Nilima Gulrajani is a Senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute. She has written very widely on international development assistance, and her expertise includes the management and governance of aid assistance, aid effectiveness, and principled aid.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Gulrajani, N. (2021, August 23). Aid and Development - Aid Effectiveness and Aid Critics [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Gulrajani, Nilima. "Aid and Development – Aid Effectiveness and Aid Critics." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 Aug 2021,

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