Donor Proliferation to What Ends?

Nilima Gulrajani (Overseas Development Institute) and I have a new article available in the Canadian Journal of Development Studies.  This article extends the World Society theoretical perspective at the centre of the Developing Conformity project to help explain why new donor countries become donors to seek legitimacy on the world stage, how that leads to challenges to existing donor norms, and what that means for the future of development assistance.  The details are as follows:

Donor proliferation to what ends? New donor countries and the search for legitimacy


Despite aid fatigue in the Global North, the number of donor states continues to grow. This article examines the motivations and performance of New Donor Countries (NDCs). Drawing on theories of norm diffusion, we argue that an important driver is new donors’ search for legitimacy as advanced and influential states. A comparison of 26 NDCs with established donors on three metrics of aid levels and quality reveals that NDCs may be adopting the form but not the associated functions and responsibilities of traditional donors. While NDCs are contributing to the viability of global development cooperation, vigilance is required to preserve its robustness.