Aid Salary Discrepancies and Development Workers' Performance, 2007-2010


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

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 aimed 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 co-operative work performance; build capacity; and effectively address poverty reduction challenges. According to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, best practice in aid work means pay should be aligned and harmonised across worker groups (World Bank, 2005). Although pay may not be a primary motive for development workers, discrepancies in pay nonetheless have the potential to influence perceptions of organisational justice, which can in turn affect work performance. Moreover, 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 co-operation and mutual capacity-building. This interdisciplinary, multi-method project explored the effects of aid salary discrepancies in the health, education and business sectors of six countries: the landlocked economies of Malawi and Uganda; the transition economies of India and China; and the island economies of the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Bringing together an international team of psychologists, sociologists, management experts, educationalists, and economists from 10 different countries this project focused on the human dynamics of aid salary discrepancies and their significance for capacity building in lower-income countries. Further information, including publications, can be found at the project's website or funding award web page

Main Topics:

The main topics covered dual salaries, workplace justice, harmonisation of salaries, alignment of salaries, aid worker motivation, aid worker performance, poverty reduction, work benefits and culture at work.

Quota sample

One-stage cluster sample


Psychological measurements

Metadata Access
Creator Carr, S., Massey University, School of Psychology
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2011
Funding Reference Economic and Social Research Council
Rights Copyright S. Carr; <p><img alt="Creative Commons License" style="border-width:0" src="" /></a>&nbsp; The Data Collection is to be made available to any user without the requirement for registration for download/access under a <a href="">Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International</a> Licence.</p>
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Numeric
Discipline Psychology; Social and Behavioural Sciences
Spatial Coverage China; India; Malawi; Papua New Guinea; Uganda; Solomon Islands