Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The ghost of 0.7 per cent: origins and relevance of the international aid target


Author Info

  • Michael A. Clemens
  • Todd J. Moss


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the historical origins of the international goal for rich countries to devote 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI) to aid, in order to assess its present relevance. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews all the original documents, interviews decision makers of that era, and uses their same essential method to estimate a new goal with today's data. Findings – First, the target was calculated using a model which, applied to today's data, yields ludicrous results. Second, no government ever agreed in a UN forum to actually reach 0.7 per cent – though many pledged to move toward it. Third, ODA/GNI per se does not constitute a meaningful metric for the adequacy of aid flows. Research limitations/implications – Any further work on aid targets must be based on a country-by-country assessment of realistic funding opportunities. Practical implications – The 0.7 per cent goal has no modern academic basis, has failed as a lobbying tool, and should be abandoned. Originality/value – Anyone who studies or works on the ways that rich countries can assist the development process must confront the 0.7 per cent goal sooner or later. The paper shows for the first time that it arose from an economic model with no modern credibility, and that – contrary to conventional wisdom – none of the UN documents contains a promise to meet the goal.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:;jsessionid=56B6475998888EAEB8221ABF859B8211?contentType=Article&contentId=1630387
Download Restriction: Cannot be freely downloaded

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Development Issues.

Volume (Year): 6 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 3-25

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:eme:ijdipp:v:6:y:2007:i:1:p:3-25

Contact details of provider:
Web page:

Order Information:
Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK

Related research

Keywords: Developing countries; International aid;


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2010. "Aid and Conditionality," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier.
  2. Sèna Kimm Gnangnon, 2011. "The consequences of Fiscal Episodes in OECD Countries for Aid Supply," Working Papers halshs-00613161, HAL.
  3. Sam Jones, 2011. "Aid Supplies Over Time Accounting for Heterogeneity, Trends, and Dynamics," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Working Paper W, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:ijdipp:v:6:y:2007:i:1:p:3-25. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.