But what’s this? The highest salaries– by a considerable margin– belong to MPA/ID graduates as well: those who have gone to work in the private sector. Where are they getting paid this much? I can virtually guarantee you it’s at international development contractors that do a huge fraction of America’s development work, working on contracts supplied by USAID.
Why would a graduate in international development who goes to work at a private company make 30% more than a public policy generalist who does the same? And why, one might ask, would USAID dole out contracts to companies that pay their analysts double what USAID pays its own HKS grads? If they’ve got the budget, why not hire their own people and do the work themselves? These are not new questions, but this illustration of the truly inexplicable quandary in U.S. international development work is particularly graphic and disturbing. Think about it.