Send us your feedback

Thank you for your feedback. An email has been sent to the ESRC support team.

An error occured whilst sending your feedback. Please review the problems below.

The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Aid salary discrepancies and development workers' performance

A veritable elephant in the parlour of poverty reduction efforts is the salary gap that often exists between aid workers, whether national or expatriate, volunteer or expert, or among local personnel working for different agencies. This research aims to -

  • Document the extent of such salary discrepancies;
  • Explore their consequences for work performance, and
  • Determine the potential for salary alignment and harmonisation to boost cooperative work performance, build capacity and more effectively address poverty reduction challenges.

The research spans low-income, aid-dependent states that are landlocked (Malawi, Zambia), Island economies (Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea), and also transition economies (China, India). Cross-country comparisons will help to gauge the robustness of our findings. A combination of quantitative (survey) and qualitative (critical incident) techniques focuses on how to enhance organizational justice and boost work performance. 

Because injustice is a motivation for much aid itself, perceptions of unfairness in aid work may have an inherent salience and undermine its necessary constituents, especially cooperation and capacity building. It is therefore important to identify under what conditions, precisely, salary discrepancies are counter-productive versus productive. The project’s ethos is multidisciplinary and inter-disciplinary, working through in-country teams to foster mutual organizational learning and mutual research capacity development.