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Africa: Is Aid an Answer?

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Author Info

  • Caucutt Elizabeth M

    ()
    (University of Western Ontario)

  • Kumar Krishna B.

    ()
    (RAND Graduate School of Policy Studies)

Abstract

We address the poverty trap rationale for aid to Africa. We calibrate models that embody typical explanations for stagnation: coordination failures, ineffective mix of occupational choices and imperfect capital markets, and insufficient human capital accumulation coupled with high fertility. Calibration is ideally suited for this evaluation given the paucity of high-quality data, the high degree of model nonlinearity, and the need for conducting counterfactual policy experiments. We find that calibrations that yield multiple equilibria -- one being prosperity and the other stagnation -- are not particularly robust in capturing the African situation. This tempers optimism about foreign aid typically prescribed based on models of multiplicity. Moreover, conditional on multiplicity, the calibrated models indicate that the cost of policy interventions needed to trigger development in stagnant economies is small. The lack of reforms in Africa, despite the low estimated costs, suggests political hurdles to reform. It is not clear that foreign aid would be able to circumvent these. Taken together, we conclude that the case for foreign aid to Africa is weak.

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File URL: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejm.2008.8.1/bejm.2008.8.1.1761/bejm.2008.8.1.1761.xml?format=INT
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 8 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (December)
Pages: 1-48

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:8:y:2008:i:1:n:32

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Cited by:
  1. Chris Papageorgiou & Fidel Pérez Sebastián & Shankha Chakraborty, 2010. "Diseases, infection dynamics and development," Working Papers. Serie AD 2010-28, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  2. Keith Blackburn & Gonzalo F. Forgues-Puccio, 2011. "Foreign Aid - a Fillip for Development or a Fuel for Corruption?," CDMA Working Paper Series 201107, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  3. Elisabeth Caucutt & Krishna B. Kumar, 2007. "Education For All: A Welfare-Improving Course for Africa?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(2), pages 294-326, April.

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