This essay explores the historical development of the Norwegian development aid policy from the 1950ies until recently. The main purpose of the essay is to determine whether or not there has been a shift towards a more result oriented development aid, and if there has been such a shift, how this has taken place. I explore the motives for Norwegian development aid, and set them into a theoretical context with emphasis on what form of rationality that can explain the behaviour of Norway as a donor: realism or a more idealistic form of reasoning. I also discuss how health oriented aid can be placed on this scale.
During the process the main methods have been the exploration of historical documents, policy documents, official white papers and statistical material in order to come to a better understanding of the development within the foreign aid sector in Norway.
The analysis points towards an increased degree of utility-based realist argumentation within the sector. This comes in addition to the traditional value-based idealism. This change suggests a higher degree of pragmatism and I have detected a slow but noticeable historical development towards result orientation. In addition I find that the significance of international institutions generally has become higher.