In This Review

United States Development Assistance Policy: The Domestic Politics of Foreign Economic Aid
United States Development Assistance Policy: The Domestic Politics of Foreign Economic Aid
By Vernon W. Ruttan
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995, 657 pp
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The author, a professor of applied economics at the University of Minnesota, provides a painstaking history and analysis of the U.S. development assistance program over the past 50 years. He details the evolution of the Agency for International Development and U.S. policy toward the multilateral lending institutions, U.N. agencies, and other assistance organizations. Ruttan distinguishes six different phases of assistance policy since World War II, emphasizing the degree to which policy was shaped, with detrimental effects, by domestic political interests. Although ably researched, this is in many ways a dispiriting book. The financial gap between what the author thinks desirable and what is politically feasible is so large that his suggested reforms seem like an exercise in futility.