Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Political Science

Committee Chair

Christina Fattore

Committee Co-Chair

Karen Culcasi

Committee Member

David Hauser

Committee Member

Robert Maxon

Committee Member

Philip Michelbach


This study examines the empirical links between market-based aid and economic reform in sub-Sahara Africa. My research question: Is market-based aid necessary for economic reform across sub-Sahara Africa? To answer that question, I applied both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Specifically, regression analyses were conducted to determine whether or not causality could be established between my dependent and independent variables. 22 sub-Saharan states were used. In addition, two case studies (Ghana and Senegal) were conducted to help explain some of the cultural nuances that may be missing from the statistical analysis. As a result of the Washington Consensus, International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and advanced economies have advocated for economic reforms -- namely macro-level neoliberal structural adjustments - to help facilitate sustainable economic growth and development across emerging economies. This approach has been critiqued in the past since it uses a 'one-size-fits-all' approach and assumes that since similar reform efforts were successful in the west, then they should work in the sub-Sahara region absent of accounting for internal nuances such as cultural and traditional values, customs, structures and conditions. I argue that more market-based aid could be the best way forward, especially if economic reform efforts are tailored toward four key conduits that are essential for driving subsequent economic growth and development: government capacity, economic freedom, private sector investments, and domestic savings. I hypothesized the aforementioned are positively linked with market-based aid.