The Impact Initiative has closed. This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.
The Impact Initiative has closed. This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.

Aid salary discrepancies and development workers' performance

Research Partners:


Photo: More UK aid supplies land in earthquake-hit Nepal. Photo Credit: Sgt Neil Bryden/RAF under license CC BY 3.0 in accordance with the Open Government Licence.
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Principal Investigator: Stuart Colin Carr. Lead Organistion: Massey University.

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.

Primary theme: 
Grant Reference: 
Project Status: 
Grant Category: 
Research Grant
Lead Organisation Department: 
Centre for Psychology
Fund Start Date: 
March 1st, 2007
Fund End Date: 
February 28th, 2010
Fund Currency Code: 
Fund Value: