INTL 422/522 Aid to Developing Countries 

Spring 2016

Professor Anita M. Weiss













                         Course Syllabus and Outline
This course examines the history and current realities of international bilateral and multilateral development assistance. After placing globalization and development assistance in an historical context, we will look at different kinds of aid that exists, the debate over what is to be developed and how that should occur, the project planning and assessment process, and the rise in importance of NGOs in the aid arena today. We then review and critique the current aid emphasis on promoting democratization, civil society and human rights, and the mandates of the Millennium Declaration and the resultant MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) as well as the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The course culminates in our own aid consortium simulation, where students have the opportunity to experience the decision-making process first-hand. Our emphasis throughout is on the development process and its critics, which could lead to a greater understanding of both the possibilities and the constraints of aid.

We will try to break down into small group discussions as much as possible. Therefore, try to finish all readings prior to the beginning of the segment in which they will be discussed. Readings other than those from the required texts have been kept at a minimum, and are accessoble below via this course website.

Course Objectives

1. To understand how the global system of bilateral and multilateral development assistance is structured and functions today, and to assess its effectiveness critically;

2. To understand the historical background to the current system, as well as various orientations towards globalization and development assistance;

3. To gain an awareness of the various actors involved in international development assistance and in the development process, particularly i) the United Nations and its constituent multilateral donor agencies; ii) key bilateral donor agencies (especially JICA and USAID); iii) international non-governmental organizations (INGOs); and iv) local non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

4. To learn specific skills including how a project is envisioned and planned, assessment tools (e.g., RRA and PRA), how to promote participatory development, and standard evaluative methods (e.g., ‘successes, failures and lessons learned’)

Course Outline

WEEK I March 29-31          Introduction to the course, the project process, and development assistance as an issue

Please review the project information and ascertain your top three choices for a group you’d like to be in. We will try to finalize the group project list by the end of the first week of classes (thereby underscoring the importance of starting to research this early!). Yen Tran (International Documents, Knight library) joins us on March 31st to discuss strategies for project research.

Required Reading:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. vii-viii, 3-17
de Haan, pp. ix-xi
Easterly, pp. 17-42
HDR 2015, ppiii-iv

"USAID and 32 Partner Organizations Launch U.S. Global Development Lab to help end Extreme Poverty by 2030" April 3, 2014

WEEK II  April 5-7   Historical contexts of Globalization and Development assistance

Required Reading:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. 21-54, 55-88, 89-124
de Haan, pp. 63-88
Easterly, pp. 43-46, 47-79, 105-121
Address by General George C. Marshall, June 5, 1947 (The Marshall Plan)


WEEK III April 12-14    The debate over what is to be developed
Discussion questions are linked here

Required Reading:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. 125-155
de Haan, pp. 1-19
Easterly, pp. 3-16, 94-97, 123-127
HDR 2015, pp. 1-15
* Majid Rahnema (ed.) The Post-Development Reader Zed Books, 1997: Helena Norberg- Hodge “Learning from Ladakh” pp. 22-29; Ashis Nandy “Colonization of the Mind” pp. 168-178; and Eduardo Galeano “To Be Like Them” pp. 214-222
*United Nations Commission on Human Rights “The Right to Development” also see the U.N. General Assembly “Declaration on the Right to Development

The current development debate:
William Easterly "The Aid Debate is Over" December 26, 2013
Jeffrey Sachs "The Case for Aid" Foreign Policy January 21, 2014


WEEKS IV & V      Major forms of assistance; Methods used in project planning,
April 19-21              capacity building, assessment, and safeguards for sustainability;
  26-28                     the mandate of the MDGs and the new SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)

                                       Review Guide for the Midterm is here

Where does USAID's money go? USAID Fast Facts on ODA
EU Aid Explorer: Development Atlas (interesting tool - do play around with this!)
Human Development Report data to peruse

Required Reading:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. 157-194
de Haan, pp. 21-60, 91-109
Easterly, pp. 155-173
HDR 2015, pp. 15-25, 29-46; Statistical tables to review: 1 HDI (pp, 208-211); 3 Poverty-adjusted HDI (pp. 216-219); 4 GDI (pp. 220-223); 10 Education (p.p 242-245); 13 work (pp. 254-257)
OECD "Aid to developing countries rebounds in 2013 to reach an all-time high" 
*USAID Primer: What We Do and How We Do It
*UN Sustainable Development Goals
*USAID Assistance to Kenya

WEEK VI  May 3       In-class mid-term examination

WEEK VI   May 5      Policy dialogue and structural adjustment                                  

Required Reading:
de Haan, pp. 111-133, 135-149
* Nellie Bristol "Do UN Global Development Goals Matter to the U.S.?" Center for Strategic & International Studies, May 2013


WEEK VII                Democratization, Good Governance and Development
  May 10-12               
Discussion questions are linked here

Required Reading:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. 195-224
Easterly, pp. 201-213, 215-236, 307-338
HDR 2015, pp. 55-74


WEEK VIII                   Work for Human Development
 May 17-19               
        Discussion questions will be linked here

                                         Final essay assignment is linked here

 *Note: Country reports and donor profiles due in class on May 17th and will be accessible via the course website (through the Participants page) by May 19th

Required Reading:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. 225-253
de Haan, pp. 151-171
Easterly, pp. 237-274
HDR 2015, pp. 77-103, 107-124

TED talk (video): Sanjay Pradhan: How open data is changing international aid


WEEK IX   May 24-26        How does aid work?

*Note for May 24th: Based on additional information they have garnered from the donor profiles, each country group will make a 15-minute presentation based on their aid needs.

*Note for May 26th: We will hold our Aid Consortium Simulation, an opportunity for donor organizations and countries to meet face-to-face, make bargains and reach some understanding. The consortium will be held in the Ford Alumni Center, Rooms 301 (Delegates' Lounge), and Rooms 302, 303 and 304.   

WEEK X  May 31, June 2 & 3  
Does Aid work? Can Aid work? Critique of Process and Theories

*Note: Donor organizations will report on what percentage of their aid budgets will go to each country, and what was the basis for this decision.

Required Reading:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. 255-284
de Haan, pp. 173-187, 189-195
Easterly, pp. 339-351
HDR 2015, pp. 131-148, 151-181

Advice as you go out into the world!

FINAL CLASS MEETING: Friday, June 3rd, 6:30 p.m. [Final essay assignment due in class]
Lewis Lounge, 4th floor, Knight Law School, Agate & 15th Street

You are cordially invited to attend the concluding ceremonies of the International Development Assistance Consortium. Participants are requested to bring food and/or beverages from their respective countries. We will have the opportunity to critique the aid process as well as the course.

Note to delegates:
Please keep the time and location confidential, for security concerns