Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Counting Chickens When They Hatch: The Short-term Effect of Aid on Growth

Contents:

Author Info

  • Michael Clemens

    ()

  • Steven Radelet
  • Rikhil Bhavnani

Abstract

Past research on aid and growth is flawed because it typically examines the impact of aggregate aid on growth over a short period, usually four years, while significant portions of aid are unlikely to affect growth in such a brief time. We divide aid into three categories: (1) emergency and humanitarian aid (likely to be negatively correlated with growth); (2) aid that affects growth only over a long period of time, if at all, such as aid to support democracy, the environment, health, or education (likely to have no relationship to growth over four years); and (3) aid that plausibly could stimulate growth in four years, including budget and balance of payments support, investments in infrastructure, and aid for productive sectors such as agriculture and industry. Our focus is on the third group, which accounts for about 53% of all aid flows. We find a positive, causal relationship between this “short-impact” aid and economic growth (with diminishing returns) over a four-year period. The impact is large: at least two-to-three times larger than in studies using aggregate aid. Even at a conservatively high discount rate, at the mean a $1 increase in short-impact aid raises output (and income) by $1.64 in present value in the typical country. From a different perspective, we find that higher-than-average short-impact aid to sub- Saharan Africa raised per capita growth rates there by about half a percentage point over the growth that would have been achieved by average aid flows. The results are highly statistically significant and stand up to a demanding array of tests, including various specifications, endogeneity structures, and treatment of influential observations. The basic result does not depend crucially on a recipient’s level of income or quality of institutions and policies; we find that short-impact aid causes growth, on average, regardless of these characteristics. However, we find some evidence that the impact on growth is somewhat larger in countries with stronger institutions or longer life expectancies (better health). We also find a significant negative relationship between debt repayments and growth. We make no statement on, and do not attempt to measure, any additional effect on growth from other categories of aid (e.g., emergency assistance or aid that might affect growth over a longer time period); four-year panel regressions are not an appropriate tool to examine those relationships.

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: http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/2744
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 44.

as in new window
Length: 76 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:44

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.cgdev.org

Related research

Keywords: foreign aid; humanitarian aid; short impact; economic growth;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

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.:
as in new window
  1. Charles C. Chang & Eduardo Fernández-Arias & Luis Serven, 1998. "Measuring Aid Flows: A New Approach," Research Department Publications 4146, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Mosley, Paul, 1980. "Aid, Savings and Growth Revisited," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 42(2), pages 79-95, May.
  3. Griffin, Keith, 1970. "Foreign Capital, Domestic Savings and Economic Development," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 32(2), pages 99-112, May.
  4. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Henrik Hansen & Finn Tarp, 2004. "On The Empirics of Foreign Aid and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(496), pages F191-F216, 06.
  5. David Roodman, 2004. "The Anarchy of Numbers: Aid, Development, and Cross-country Empirics," Development and Comp Systems 0412003, EconWPA.
  6. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2002. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," United Kingdom Stata Users' Group Meetings 2003 02, Stata Users Group.
  7. Mark McGillivray & Oliver Morrissey, 2000. "Aid fungibility in Assessing Aid: red herring or true concern?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 413-428.
  8. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
  9. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2002. "Aid, policy, and growth in post-conflict societies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2902, The World Bank.
  10. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
  11. Pesaran, M.H. & Smith, R., 1992. "Estimating Long-Run Relationships From Dynamic Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9215, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  12. Peter S. Heller & Sanjeev Gupta, 2002. "Challenges in Expanding Development Assistance," IMF Policy Discussion Papers 02/5, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Jan Pettersson, 2007. "Foreign sectoral aid fungibility, growth and poverty reduction," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(8), pages 1074-1098.
  14. Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Lisa CHAUVET, 1999. "Aid and Performance: A Reassessment," Working Papers 199910, CERDI.
  15. Roland Hodler, 2004. "Redistribution to Rent Seekers, Foreign Aid and Economic Growth," Diskussionsschriften dp0406, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  16. Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," Papers 517a, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  17. John Shea, 1997. "Instrument Relevance in Multivariate Linear Models: A Simple Measure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 348-352, May.
  18. C-J. Dalgaard & H. Hansen, 2001. "On Aid, Growth and Good Policies," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6), pages 17-41.
  19. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
  20. Tomi Ovaska, 2003. "The Failure of Development Aid," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 23(2), pages 175-188, Fall.
  21. Weisskopf, Thomas E., 1972. "The impact of foreign capital inflow on domestic savings in underdeveloped countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 25-38, February.
  22. Lisa CHAUVET & Patrick GUILLAUMONT, 2003. "Aid and Growth Revisited: Policy, Economic Vulnerability and Political Instability," Working Papers 200327, CERDI.
  23. Lensink, Robert & White, Howard, 1999. "Are there negative returns to aid?," Research Report 99E60, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  24. Griffin, Keith B & Enos, J L, 1970. "Foreign Assistance: Objectives and Consequences," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 313-27, April.
  25. William Easterly & Ross Levine & David Roodman, 2004. "Aid, Policies, and Growth: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 774-780, June.
  26. Hansen, Henrik & Tarp, Finn, 2001. "Aid and growth regressions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 547-570, April.
  27. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2000. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," CSAE Working Paper Series 2000-18, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  28. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 1999. "Aid allocation and poverty reduction," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2041, The World Bank.
  29. Singh, Ram D, 1985. "State Intervention, Foreign Economic Aid, Savings and Growth in LDCs: Some Recent Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(2), pages 216-32.
  30. Feyzioglu, Tarhan & Swaroop, Vinaya & Min Zhu, 1996. "Foreign aid's impact on public spending," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1610, The World Bank.
  31. Radelet Steven & Sachs Jeffrey & Lee Jong-Wha, 2001. "The Determinants and Prospects of Economic Growth in Asia," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 1-29.
  32. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
  33. Dollar, David & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Scholarly Articles 4553020, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  34. Tito Cordella & Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, 2003. "Budget Support Versus Project Aid," IMF Working Papers 03/88, International Monetary Fund.
  35. Mosley, Paul & Hudson, John & Horrell, Sara, 1987. "Aid, the Public Sector and the Market in Less Developed Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 616-41, September.
  36. Gulati, Umesh C, 1978. "Effect of Capital Imports on Savings and Growth in Less Developed Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(4), pages 563-69, October.
  37. Marris, Robin, 1970. "Can We Measure the Need for Development Assistance?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 80(319), pages 650-68, September.
  38. George Economides & Sarantis Kalyvitis & Apostolis Philippopoulos, 2004. "Do Foreign Aid Transfers Distort Incentives and Hurt Growth? Theory and Evidence from 75 Aid-recipient Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 1156, CESifo Group Munich.
  39. Jeff Dayton-Johnson & John Hoddinott, 2003. "Aid, policies and growth, redux," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive redux2, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.
  40. William Easterly & Ross Levine & David Roodman, 2003. "New Data, New doubts: A Comment on Burnside and Dollar's "Aid, Policies, and Growth" (2000)," NBER Working Papers 9846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  41. Papanek, Gustav F, 1973. "Aid, Foreign Private Investment, Savings, and Growth in Less Developed Countries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(1), pages 120-30, Jan.-Feb..
  42. Trudy Owens & John Hoddinott, 1998. "Investing in development or investing in relief: quantifying the poverty tradeoffs using Zimbabwe household panel data," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1999-04, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  43. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
  44. Papanek, Gustav F, 1972. "The Effect of Aid and other Resource Transfers on Savings and Growth in Less Developed Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(327), pages 934-50, September.
  45. Collier, Paul & Dehn, Jan, 2001. "Aid, shocks, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2688, The World Bank.
  46. Levy, Victor, 1988. "Aid and growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: The recent experience," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1777-1795, November.
  47. William Easterly, 2003. "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 23-48, Summer.
  48. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  49. Harold J. Brumm, 2003. "Aid, Policies, and Growth: Bauer Was Right," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 23(2), pages 167-174, Fall.
  50. Henrik Hansen & Finn Tarp, 2000. "Aid effectiveness disputed," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 375-398.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

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

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

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

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:44. 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: (David Roodman).

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.