After World War II, with the complexity of international affairs, cross border economic activities, new technology and the internet contributed to the increase of human interaction. This also increases the interdependence between countries, as well as the changes in international relationships made the borders among countries more and more vague. The rise of Non- Government Organizations (NGOs) indicated that the concept of “nations as the main player in international affairs” is being challenged. NGOs gradually took over government roles in international affairs as nations faded away in international governance. Therefore, international assistance programs work best when the government and NGOs work in partnerships. This would double the effectiveness as opposed to either one party working alone.
Studies have found that, early ODA (official development assistance) model centers around the government, the concept of assistance is different, and the interaction is not ideal. With the need of assistance and policy changes, NGO is frequently more involved in the ODA, as well as is complementary with the government on ODA issues. NGO participation in ODA will reduce public doubt on government role and raise the legitimacy of ODA. Therefore, the role of NGO in ODA has a rising importance. However, due to macro national interest, Japanese NGO is only able to play an intermediary role, instead of an executive and/or partnership role.
Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the international development agendas have put more emphases on aid effectiveness. How to ensure the effectiveness from policies to development outcomes, the last stage of the aid process, is closely related to counterfactual analyses using micro-level data and causal inference techniques, recognized by Nobel Memorial Prizes in economics in 2015, 2019, and 2021. This paper reviews the background of aid effectiveness, introduces the logic and techniques of counterfactual analyses commonly used..
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