12:30—2:00 PM
Center for Global Development, 1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Third Floor, Washington, DC

Hunting for Per Diem: Uses and Abuses of Travel Compensation in Developing Countries

Featuring Tina Søreide
Senior Researcher and Economist
Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway

Moderated by
Charles Kenny
Senior Fellow
Center for Global Development

In Tanzania, travel-related per diems amount to 4% of the total government budget. Abuse of travel compensation is a common phenomenon. A new paper by Tina Søreide discusses explanatory factors driving ‘per diem misuse,’ first by addressing characteristics of state administration and then the role of the donor community. At a CGD brownbag on Monday, April 9, Søreide will present the paper's arguments and findings, based on country case studies of Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania, where around 120 interviews were conducted with key informants across multiple institutions. The findings show that risks of per diem misuse are prevalent in all three countries. While similar formal systems are in place, including control mechanisms, the contexts differ leading to diverging practices and consequences. Although the study describes an administrative issue widely perceived to be trivial, in the aggregate it can have macroeconomic implications. The problem is compounded by the donor community which does not adhere to the Paris Declaration’s principles of harmonization and alignment with respect to per diem rates and regulations.


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