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Lives in the Balance

Improving Accountability for Public Spending in Developing Countries

Lives in the Balance by Charles C. Griffin
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Foreign aid is being scrutinized heavily these days—by donor countries who don’t want simply to give money away; in the recipient nations who need to make the most of what they have; and among major analysts and writers such as William Easterly (White Man’s Burden). Lives in the Balance investigates a vital aspect of the foreign aid landscape—how to make sure money goes where it should. Poor people depend heavily on government services. Poor delivery of those services is often due to a lack of government commitment rather than a paucity of resources. Proper use of aid depends on effective governance, with accountability an essential element—government responds when its activities are brought into the light. Griffin and his colleagues illustrate that case with copious examples from around the developing world.A new dynamism is needed, the authors argue, and it come from the “demand-side”—citizens and civil society must advocate for improved transparency, stronger accountability, better priorities, reduced corruption, and more emphasis on helping the poor. Securing real reform will depend on not only knowledge of how the recipient government operates, but also how to work with partner entities—the media, the private sector, other organizations, legislators—to raise awareness and compel change.
Brookings Institution Press; Read online
Title: Lives in the Balance
Author: Charles C. Griffin; David de Ferranti; Courtney Tolmie

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