Foreign Aid

Instructor, Texas A&M University, Bush School of Government and Public Service (Bush 689), 2024

This Master’s-level course provides an overview of the role of foreign aid in international development. The course will begin by surveying the major development paradigms/frameworks and their pitfalls: modernization, dependency theory, and principal-agent theory. Then, we will examine the major ideas, including the Washington Consensus, the importance of institutions, searchers vs. planners, community-driven development, social protection, and the rise of randomized control trials. In the process, the course will explore the role of the various actors (e.g., World Bank, IMF, regional development banks, traditional bilateral donors, China), relevant political economy considerations, and the long-run efficacy of foreign aid. To tackle the latter, the course will notably explore the complicated relationship between foreign aid and corruption—not just at the theoretical level, but also through exploration of auditing, procurement, and social accountability controls. When possible, I will leverage my contacts in academia and aid agencies to provide students with opportunities to engage with authors of the works that we will read and/or provide a first-hand policy perspective. [Syllabus]