The purpose of this study is to examine the uses and abuses of various forms of per diem (or non-salary daily allowances) by governments, civil society organisations (CSOs) and donors alike. The literature on the subject is limited, albeit growing, because the donor community has so far considered the phenomenon of marginal importance. Studies to date have yielded valuable insights into the incentives, dynamics and social mechanisms at play. Less is known about the empirical situation in specific countries, sectors and types of interventions, let alone trends over time. Recommendations will be advanced, even though addressing this problem is likely to be difficult because the phenomenon is entrenched and linked to low salary levels.