Research page

This is a joint project of the Centre for Finance and Development  and the CCDP, funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) January 2014 – June 2016

Principal Investigator: Susanna Campbell
Co-Principal Investigator: Jean-Louis Arcand
Co-Principal Investigator: Michael Findley



Aiding Peace was jointly implemented with the University of Texas at Austin and in collaboration with the Graduate Institute's Centre for Finance and Development (CFD), the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP), and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).


project outcomes

The objective of this research project was to understand the causes of donor behavior at the sub-national level during a peace process. Do donors respond to the ebbs and flows of a peace process or is their behavior motivated by other factors that are exogenous to events within the conflict-torn country? The literature on international aid, peacebuilding, and peace processes have thus far failed to answer this question.

The project employed an innovative multi-method research design to answer these questions. It uses a nested case study approach, which allows us to compare the behavior of different types of donors (i.e., bilateral, multilateral, OECD and non-OECD, Regional Development Banks, etc.) in three relatively contemporaneous peace processes (i.e., Liberia, Nepal, and Sudan). The desk research phase implemented an initial quantitative analysis using multinomial and ordered probit models to assess the responsiveness of aid donors to each case study’s peace processes relative to other external shocks, or alternative explanations, that could explain donor behavior.

After this first cut at the data, the team applied qualitative and further quantitative methods (i.e., semi-structured interviews, archival document review, content analysis, and survey experiments) to uncover the causal pathways (i.e., process tracing) that may explain the correlations revealed in the initial quantitative analysis (deductive) and uncover causal explanations that may not have been addressed in these models (inductive). In 2015, the project team conducted a three-week long research mission to the DRC, and presented preliminary results at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The project duration was extended until June 2016 in order to complete fieldwork in Nepal and Sudan / South Sudan.
The research team, made up of political scientists and economists, demonstrated a very strong background in international aid, conflict-affected countries, peace processes, sub-national comparative analyses, and rigorous quantitative and qualitative methods. As a final outcome, a research report was produced and dissemination events and discussions were held with project partners.  Through these processes, the research findings were made available to help improve donor behavior in conflict-affected countries.
A public dissemination event was held at the CCDP in June of 2016. The report is available in PDF.

Dr. Gabriele Spilker, Senior Researcher (Research Collaborator), Centre for Comparative and International Studies, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH)


other team members

  • Dr. Judith Vorrath (Research Collaborator), Associate, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Project Leader, Organized Crime: Challenges for Development Cooperation in Fragile States

  • Mr. Josiah Marineau (Research Collaborator), PhD Candidate, Political Science, University of Texas at Austin

  • Mr. Bradley Parks (Collaborator), Executive Director, AidData Center for Development Policy

  • Dr. Achim Wennmann (Collaborator), Executive Coordinator, Geneva Peacebuilding Platform