Faculty of Policy Studies Public Lecture No.7
"Global Economic Disparity and the Role of Development Assistance"
on Monday, November 13, 2006 1:15pm–2:45pm
at Rinkokan 302, Doshisha University

Prof. Sayuri Shirai, Keio University

Prof. Shigeyuki Abe, Doshisha University

Drawing on her recent book,“Macro Development Economics: Recent Trends in Foreign Aid,”Professor Sayuri Shirai spoke about current major issues, and presented the latest available data, relating to Japan and Official Development Assistance (ODA). She argued that Japan needs to think more seriously about its ODA program, and recognize problems in its delivery that make Japan's ODA contribution less effective than it could be.

Professor Shirai supported her conclusions by using an analytical framework based on questions such as: Why do income disparities arise? What is the role of development aid? And, how can one judge the effectiveness of development aid? In surveying ODA programs around the world, she found that the recent trend is towards giving aid in the form of grants. Professor Shirai also discussed new research into the effects of recent ODA, and new strategies for delivering aid. Chief among these is promoting good governance to ensure the effective deliverance of development aid.

The US government’s establishment of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) was given as an example of a successful new strategy. In addition to traditional development assistance, the MCA defined objective criteria for success, and established a periodical evaluation system, to create a process which now works well. Other examples included the World Bank, which has started to focus more of effects and evaluation, and the French government, which proposed the imposition of a Tobin tax on foreign exchange, to raise revenue for aid.

In explaining these cases, Professor Shirai stressed that the ODA environment is in a state of change, and that Japan’s ODA program could be part of this change.


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