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Keywords:

  • budget support;
  • donor–government relations;
  • ownership;
  • Rwanda;
  • Tanzania

SUMMARY

In this article, I analyze the relationship between budget support and ownership, or recipient-country control over policy outcomes, by exploring how budget support donors in Rwanda and Tanzania attempt to exert influence over domestic policy processes. In contrast to the conventional rhetoric about budget support, my empirical analysis finds little evidence that budget support decreases the influence that donors try to exert over recipient-country governments. Instead, semi-structured interviews with donor and government representatives in each country suggest that the aid modality is often used as a tool by which donors attempt to increase their leverage over domestic decision-making. In particular, I identify three mechanisms frequently used by budget support donors to influence domestic policy processes: voice amplification, a seat at the table, and a license to ask questions. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.