2020 Organisation and Management of Aid Analysis

Biståndets förvaltningskostnader: För stora? Eller kanske för små?

Daniel Tarschys

Is management only a burden? The premise in much of the literature on development aid, and more specifically in the Swedish budgetary dialogue in this policy field, seems to be that administrative activities should be squeezed back as far as possible so as not to reduce the scope for the transfers that count as the core of the aid effort. In the paradigm currently employed by the Swedish government, low administrative spending equals high internal efficiency.

This report examines the underlying the premises of this division and wheather it should be abondoned. With this study EBA wishes to shed light on challenges in order to strengthen Swedish development cooperation and its long-term goal.

The report was presented during the seminar Försvinner biståndet i administration?


  • Treating administration as a consistently negative post in the policy calculus makes little sense. To arrive at optimal patterns of spending there is a strong need to differentiate between various elements in the process.
  • Indiscriminate attempts to reduce administrative costs are however perilous as they may translate into misguided spending.
  • The report recommends that the twin concepts ”internal efficiency” and ”administrative crown” be discarded and that further efforts be devoted to developing more discerning analytical tools to examine the efficiency of strategies, programmes, projects and channels in development cooperation.

Daniel Tarschys, Professor emeritus at Stockholm university and Senior Advisor at SIEPS