Getting Things Done in Tricky Places: When Reporting Undermines Performance for Aid Agencies
Daniel Honig, Assistant Professor of International Development, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
Aid agencies often use top-down controls and performance targets to orient the work of their hard-to-monitor field staff. Drawing on my forthcoming book, Navigation by Judgment, I argue that these attempts at control often undermine the actual achievement of results, with control more costly as state fragility rises and tasks become more difficult to manage by measurement. This talk will explore the book’s empirics (particularly findings from a novel database of over 14,000 development projects, and case studies in relatively fragile Liberia from 2006-2014) and their implications for aid agencies and others who attempt to implement projects in fragile and conflict-affected states.