Resolved: Wealthy nations have an obligation to provide development assistance to other nations. (Bibliography (in progress))


Angus Deaton on foreign aid and inequality.  In the first half of this interview, Deaton argues that while he supports health aid that most foreign aid supports corrupt governments and that it is difficult to distribute it in a way that does not support that corruption.

US Foreign aid: A waste of money or a boost for foreign stability. This newspaper article reviews the main arguments for and against foreign aid.

How effective is foreign aid? (2014). This article, written by an economist, reviews the core academic work on the subject of foreign aid.

Aid effectiveness: Policy, Research, and Unresolved Issues (2014). This paper provides a critical review of the recent research on aid effectiveness. It argues that there is an enormous disjunction between research on aid effectiveness and current policies and practices: in particular, recent empirical research efforts have spawned a large body of work that is rife with controversies and insiders’ drama, but sheds little light on important policy issues regarding allocation, design and delivery of foreign aid. The paper argues that a convergence of the two universes – research and policies – is essential both for a sophisticated understanding of the underlying issues and for formulating appropriate policies and practices for aid effectiveness.  There aren’t a lot of cards in  this article, but it provides a good overview of the literature on the academic debate related to the benefits of foreign aid.

The Moral Politics of Foreign Aid (2013, gated).In what sense can foreign aid be understood as a moral practice? Is there any empirical substance to this claim? This article reconceptualises a type of foreign aid in which this claim is most plausible – grants by multilateral aid agencies – as a contemporary form of beneficence, a trans-historical phenomenon. Drawing on Aristotelian virtue ethics, it identifies such donations as a moral practice with deep roots in Western history. This analysis substantiates a view of the relations between states that goes beyond the simple notion of reciprocity emphasised by neoliberals. It concludes with the political implications of identifying donor states with moral distinction.

Foreign Aid Good

What “America First” Means for Foreign Aid.  This provides an overall defense of foreign aid, including a claim that the majority of the public supports foreign aid, but it also identifies some of the weaknesses of the aid, particularly in regard to Africa.

Aid’s effectiveness in fragile states.  This paper argues that aid does not undermine fragile states.  Full report.

Health care in developing countries (2017).  This brief article argues that the health care sector in developing countries is weak and needs to be improved.

Health care aid for developing countries boosts life expectancy. This article reports on a study that demonstrates that health care aid was effective at increasing life expectancy in developing countries.

The Case for Aid (2014). This article refutes common criticisms of foreign aid, including Easterly’s common arguments.

Should Republicans be Cosmpoliticans? (2016). Despite presence of a range of views in the literature, there seems to be an emerging consensus that the best answer is no. While disagreeing somewhat on the range and strength of our obligations with respect to global distributive or economic justice, for the most part contemporary republicans seem to agree that such obligations are weaker than our corresponding obligations with respect to domestic distributive or economic justice.1 In this paper, I aim to resist the emerging consensus. Republicans, on my view, should be cosmopolitans. The considerations offered against cosmopolitanism, I argue, generally rest on an incomplete understanding of the relationship between economic inequality or poverty on the one hand, and domination on the other. Insofar as republicans agree that promoting freedom from domination should be our central political aim, they should regard the reduction of economic inequality and poverty at home and abroad as equally pressing.

Ravallion, M. (2013). “Cutting Development Assistance after a Coup May Be Bad Response.”

Foreign Aid Bad/Fails

Angus Deaton’s arguments against foreign aid. This article explains Angus Deaton’s argument that foreign aid reduces the governance capacity and responsibility of states.

Foreign aid and development: Lessons from Nigeria (2017). This paper argues that poverty cannot be solved because developing countries operate at the margin of the periphery and are exploited in the capitalist system.

Why Foreign aid is harmful (2015). If you read one article for the Negative, read this one!

Why US foreign aid is out of control and what Trump is doing to fix it (2015). This article argues that aid fails and is siphoned off by the military and used in military aggression.

The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor (2013). Evidence from this book is included in our releases.


Andrimihaja, N. A., et al. (2011). “Avoiding the Fragility Trap in Africa.” World Bank Working Paper 5884.

Greenhill, R. (2016). “Development Effectiveness for the SDG Era: Five Reasons Why We Need a New Agenda.” Overseas Development Institute. development-effectiveness-sdg-era-new-agendaaid

Hellman, J. (2013). “Surprising Results from Fragile States.” World Bank Future Development Blog. surprising-results-fragile-states

Ishihara, Y. (2012). “Identifying Aid Effectiveness Challenges in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States.” Policy Research Working Paper No. 6037, The World Bank.

Jones, S. and F. Tarp (2016). “Does foreign aid harm political institutions?” Journal of Development Economics 118: 266-281.

Strandow, D., et al. (2016). “Foreign Aid and the Intensity of Violent Armed Conflict.” AidData Working Paper.