Why do some donor-funded initiatives have lasting institutional development impacts and others have negligible or counterproductive effects?
This project investigates when and why aid projects can promote persistent institutional development. Examples of institutional development include everything from improved budget tracking systems to the training of civil servants in international best practices. Because existing data sources do not continue to track the benefits and objectives of aid projects after completion, we know very little about types of projects that lead to lasting benefits. The useful lifetime of most donor-assisted projects, especially those that seek to promote institutional development, extends far beyond the point of donor involvement. Existing research suggests that advances made during project implementation often fail to be sustained once external financing is no longer available.
We need to better understand the domestic conditions, project characteristics, and sequencing of external involvement that foster sustained institutional development from donor-assisted projects. To this point, donor organizations have been forced to make not-so-educated guesses about the projects that should be funded to maximize their impact.
The Persistent Institutional Development Survey (PIDS) will overcome these problems by collecting indicator-level data on whether or not the benefit of aid projects have been sustained five to ten years after completion. To do so, we have identified experts around the world who are in a position to comment on the current state of indicators that were previously measured in project evaluations written at completion. These data will allow us to inform the development community about the conditions that lead to improved institutional development outcomes that can be successfully supported in projects and sustained by recipient governments.