Aid2Growth is a comparative research project focused on DFIs. These are known to be complex, multilayered organizations with many moving parts, competing interests and overlapping systems. A key goal of our project is to disentangle these organizations and clarify their inner workings. In other words, Aid2Growth seeks to unveil the black boxes of DFIs. As such, we understand case studies as fundamental. Our approach is qualitative and centered on case studies in a historical-institutionalist framework. That is to say that path dependencies, lock-in effects and critical junctures are key concepts.
In order to maintain a high comparability threshold and enhance cross-case analysis, we developed a fourfold stepwise approach which highlights the most important components of DFIs. This includes upstream analysis, during which we look into, among other things, the ownership structure and legal form of a DFI, who holds a controlling stake in the organization, funding sources and institutional self-portrayal. We also look into investment decision-making as a key stage for any DFI. We then delve into downstream analysis, which entails portfolio analysis, implementation partners and project relevance. Finally, we investigate impact and effectiveness, including assessment tools and actual results.