Ben is Associate Lecturer in the Department of International Relations. He submitted his PhD dissertation, ‘Explaining Aid Spending since the Global Financial Crisis: A Comparative Analysis of Aid Policy Decision-Making’, in December 2017.
Ben’s research interests encompass foreign policy analysis and international development. His doctoral research examined aid policy change from a decision-making perspective by recreating a series of recent aid policy decision-making episodes in order to uncover the factors that are most salient for political decision-makers. The project seeks to understand why Australia, the Netherlands, and the UK made divergent decisions about aid spending in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. In particular, this research seeks to explain why Australia and the Netherlands reneged on their aid spending promises while the UK decided to keep its promise to meet the internationally agreed 0.7% target, becoming the first G7 country to do so.
Prior to commencing his doctoral research at ANU, Ben spent a decade working in the international development sector. He has consulted for a variety of development agencies and organisations (including the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Asian Development Bank) in the fields of program design, health systems strengthening, strategic planning, health policy development, monitoring and evaluation, human resource development, research and organisational development. Between 2007 and 2010, Ben worked in Australian government-funded roles in the PNG National Department of Health supporting health sector reform.
Beyond foreign policy analysis and international development, Ben’s other research interests include qualitative research methodology, foreign policy decision-making, and the role of policy entrepreneurs in global politics.
Ben is also a research associate at the ANU’s Development Policy centre and contributes to the Development Policy Centre’s blog.
Given the government’s framing of Australia’s aid program as an investment, it is fair to evaluate its aid spending decisions on those terms.
The sun is setting rapidly on the MDG era. Only months away, at the end of September, world leaders will assemble at the United Nations in New York to agree on a shiny new set of goals to guide global development efforts to 2030.
Formula One is about serious speed, cutting-edge engineering and transformative technology. But mostly it’s about money. Like no other sport, Formula One (F1) follows the money. That’s why the F1 merry-go-round stops in Singapore this weekend.
What should be the role of the Australia Network? Should it exist at all? Just how important is it? Is it the right way for us to spread our message? And could the funds be spent better?