Search for objective evidence through field experiments

Research Overview

Despite more than half a century of development assistance since the end of colonial rule in the 1960s, the North-South gap still exists. There are many people in developing countries who are forced to live on a daily basis in a way that those of us living in developed countries experience only temporarily, such as when disaster strikes.

This is due, of course, to the fact that Official Development Assistance (ODA) must ultimately prioritize the national interests of the donor country, the frequent occurrence of armed conflicts over wealth and power on the side of the recipients, and widespread corruption in government and society. However, the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of aid itself is also a cause. For this reason, in recent years, randomized controlled experiments have been widely conducted to verify the actual effectiveness of aid. My research is part of such a trend.

Research Features

My research focuses on the medium- and long-term sustainability of aid, whether ODA, private philanthropy, or aid to any sector (health, education, industry, etc.), aid can take the form of (1) providing specific goods or services (funds to purchase) that are expected to solve a problem, (2) teaching a method that is expected to solve a problem, or (3) providing funds (unrestricted) to solve a problem. However, even if aid is given one after another, it is difficult to ensure that the goods and services provided or the methods taught will be used sustainably by the recipient after the donor has left. In reality, however, this is not the case in case (iii). In reality, however, except in the case of (3), sustained utilization is very rare. There are many possible reasons for this, and my research is to identify the causes and find measures to make the aid sustainable.

Research Attraction

The problems mentioned above are difficult to identify from the outside because development assistance is often described as a beautiful story, but many people may be dimly aware of their existence. The most appealing aspect of this research is that it attempts to scientifically elucidate such problems. At the same time, another appealing aspect of my research is the difficulty of using and devising different methods to clarify the questions I have formulated in a constrained field such as a developing country. I enjoy thinking about what analytical methods to use as the next best option when the randomized controlled experiments described above cannot be conducted, or how to measure factors even when randomized controlled experiments are possible, even though I suffer from these difficulties. Since analytical and measurement techniques are constantly evolving, I try to absorb new techniques on a daily basis.

Future Outlook

The results of a field experiment conducted in Uganda showed that the two approaches traditionally thought to elicit sustainability of aid effectiveness, i.e., matching aid content to local levels and involving aid recipients in determining aid content and managing implementation, were not effective in increasing sustainability. The first approach was to adapt aid content to the local level. Of course, no generalizations can be made without repeating the experiment in other contexts to see if the same results are obtained, but the fact that we were able to point out the possibility that the previously deluded approaches are in fact ineffective helps us understand the fact that the persistence problem has not been solved despite the fact that these measures have been in place for a long time. This helps us to understand the fact that the sustainability problem has not been solved despite the fact that these measures have been in place for a long time. In the future, it will be necessary to continue re-examination and at the same time to examine the effectiveness of new and different measures, specifically, an approach that leaves the process of problem solving to the recipient rather than specifying and monitoring the process by the donor.

Message to those who are interested in this research

This type of research, which seeks to objectively reveal the truth, requires an “open mind. An open mind is necessary not only with regard to the results of the analysis, but also to avoid being bound by stereotypes and preconceptions about the “questions” involved. Some people may think that “international cooperation” conjures up only positive images. This is probably due to a bias in information sources. If we diversify our information sources, we will be able to think critically and not just rely on one piece of information. And to diversify information sources, it is essential to gather information in English. You do not need to be a native English speaker, but you need to be able to gather and disseminate information in English without resistance. If you are good at English, don’t be satisfied with your English conversation skills, but rather, gather foreign views in English and gain as much experience as possible in communicating your views to foreigners in English.