Attention to Gendered Social Organization Improves Development Aid Effectiveness

Open Access
Tamer, Neslihan Burcin
Graduate Program:
Political Science
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
November 21, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Lee Ann Banaszak, Dissertation Advisor
  • Xun Cao, Committee Member
  • Joseph Wright, Committee Member
  • Carolyn Elizabeth Sachs, Committee Member
  • James A Piazza, Committee Member
  • foreign aid
  • gender
  • economic development
  • water access
  • Malawi
The central concern of this project has to do with two important assumptions that dominate the study of aid effectiveness. The majority of research examining foreign aid assumes that any and all aid is the same, and will lead to development as long as it does not fall prey to corrupt decision makers. Variation in the way aid actually works is usually attributed to characteristics or actions of the donors and the recipients. And in doing so, the context in which these actors operate is also considered. However, until recently, nature of aid itself did not get much attention. To this end, the present study aims to question these two assumptions about development aid, disaggregating it in order to explore whether outcomes differ with variation within aid activities. This study is composed of a total of five chapters. After an introduction laying out the theoretical background in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 starts by examining the impact of having any kind of gender awareness has on aid effectiveness. Chapter 3 delineates two different ways aid projects can approach gendered social structures. Aid projects can integrate an explicit concern for gender into other issue areas they target or gender related issues may be the main target. This third chapter explores the potential of each of these approaches for improving aid effectiveness. Chapter 4 takes a subnational look into aid effectiveness in Malawi and evaluates whether awareness of gendered social organization results in more effective aid. The final chapter summarizes and synthesizes the findings from all of the chapters. While doing so, chapter 5 also provides a discussion of how findings of this study help design future research that can continue to improve our understanding of development aid.