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More Dollars than Sense: Refining Our Knowledge of Development Finance Using AidData

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Author Info

  • Tierney, Michael J.
  • Nielson, Daniel L.
  • Hawkins, Darren G.
  • Roberts, J. Timmons
  • Findley, Michael G.
  • Powers, Ryan M.
  • Parks, Bradley
  • Wilson, Sven E.
  • Hicks, Robert L.

Abstract

In this introductory essay to the special issue, we introduce a new dataset of foreign assistance, AidData, that covers more bilateral and multilateral donors and more types of aid than existing datasets while also improving project-level information about the purposes and activities funded by aid. We utilize that data to provide a brief overview of important trends in foreign aid. Contributors to this special issue draw on AidData as well as other sources to analyze aid transparency, “new” donors (not previously described or analyzed), aid allocation, and aid effectiveness. Our recurring theme in this introductory essay is that AidData and these initial academic projects refine rather than revolutionize our understanding of aid. The database has added significant numbers of new projects, dollar amounts, donors, and details about those projects, though there is much more yet to add. We worry that aid debates have been driven by too little information, and that many claims are based on limited or very poor evidence. Rectifying these problems will not be instantaneous: refining knowledge takes a lot of time and hard work. The common feature of the papers in this special issue is their careful attention to nuance and detail. In spite of what some recent authors have claimed, aid is neither a simple solution nor a sufficient cause of most problems in developing countries; its motivations, distribution, and effects are complex, and shifting. Capturing this complexity requires detailed data, careful thought, and sophisticated methods that allow scholars to make conditional causal and descriptive inferences.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
Issue (Month): 11 ()
Pages: 1891-1906

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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:11:p:1891-1906

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

Related research

Keywords: foreign aid; development finance; aid effectiveness; aid transparency; aid allocation;

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Sweeney, Rohan & Mortimer, Duncan & Johnston, David W., 2014. "Do Sector Wide Approaches for health aid delivery lead to ‘donor-flight’? A comparison of 46 low-income countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 38-46.
  2. Fuchs, Andreas & Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya, 2013. "The Needy Donor: An Empirical Analysis of India’s Aid Motives," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 110-128.
  3. Magesan, Arvind, 2013. "Human Rights Treaty Ratification of Aid Receiving Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 175-188.
  4. Joseph Young & Michael Findley, 2011. "Can peace be purchased? A sectoral-level analysis of aid’s influence on transnational terrorism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(3), pages 365-381, December.
  5. Fuchs, Andreas & Klann, Nils-Hendrik, 2013. "Emergency Aid 2.0," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79898, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  6. Larsen, Rasmus Kløcker & Mamosso, Christiane Alzouma, 2014. "Aid with Blinkers: Environmental Governance of Uranium Mining in Niger," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 62-76.

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