‘Does it work?’ – work for whom? Britain and political conditionality since the Cold War

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


Evaluations of the political conditionality (PC) phenomenon have long focused on the question of instrumental efficacy – whether PC promotes policy reform in developing states. Evidence from the UK nevertheless suggests that this emphasis is misplaced and that donor officials increasingly use PC for ‘expressive’ reasons – to signal their putative commitment to delivering ‘value for money’ in a difficult international economic climate. This shift in rationale raises important questions; not least, what do we know about the effects of PC on public perceptions of aid and to what extent, within this dispensation, can contemporary PC be viewed as a ‘success’?


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13–25
JournalWorld Development
Early online date12 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • political conditionality, Africa, DFID, donors, domestic politics of aid