Measuring development aid in the Congo: experimental design and ethical research | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development |
For 5 years, Professor Macartan Humphreys and his team coordinated with the British government and two international development organizations to study how post-conflict development aid affected local governance capacity in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Working with a sample of nearly four million people – two million in communities that had received development aid, and two million in communities that did not – the team came back with surprising results: analysis of 200 outcome measures failed to reveal compelling evidence that the program – one of the largest of its kind – was having any of the effects that had been attributed to this kind of aid. In his Trudeau Lecture, Professor Humphreys grapples with the ethical and political questions that his study in the DRC, and experimental research in general, raises about researchers’ role in international development.