Resourcing International Organisations: How Earmarked Funding Affects Aid Effectiveness

International development organisations are increasingly funded through earmarked contributions whereby donors restrict the use of funds to specific countries, sectors, or themes. Worries are that earmarking undermines the capacity of these organisations to deliver on their mandates while increasing the cost of aid delivery. Beside evidence from case studies, our knowledge about whether and how earmarked funding affects the effectiveness of international organisations is limited.

Against this background, this research programme pursues the following aims and objectives:

  • Does earmarked funding undermine aid effectiveness?
  • Does earmarked funding affect organisational performance and project success?
  • How does the type of earmarked funding matter?

To achieve its objectives, we will use a multi-method approach combining the following approaches:

  • Large-N analysis of administrative datasets
  • Survey experiment with recipient-country elites
  • Qualitative-comparative case studies

Through its focus on funding structures, this research programme will highlight an overlooked determinant of organisational performance and aid effectiveness. Furthermore, its findings will feed into contemporary policy debates, specifically the relationship between earmarked funding and the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. 

Project team

Bernhard Reinsberg (Principal Investigator)

Giuseppe Zaccaria(Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Cecilia Corsini (Research Associate)

Associated members

Mirko Heinzel (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Christian Siauwijaya (Research Assistant)

Project dates

1 January 2022 – 31 December 2025

Funding and support

This four-year research program is supported by a Future Leaders Fellowship grant from UK Research & Innovation (GBP £1.4 million).

The programme benefits from an active advisory board with leading scholars and policymakers: