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Aid and Fiscal Instability

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  • Stephen O’Connell
  • Christopher Adam
  • Edward Buffie

Abstract

We show that a combination of temporariness and spending pressure is intrinsic to the aid relationship. In our analysis, recipients rationally discount the pronouncements of donors about the duration of their commitments because in equilibrium they know that some donors will honor those commitments while others will not. Donor types pool in equilibrium; in sharp contrast to conventional signaling situations, there is no separating equilibrium in pure strategies. Moreover, pooling necessarily creates what we call ex ante fiscal instability: expenditure smoothing is perfect ex post if the donor proves permanent, but if the donor is temporary the recipient faces an aid collapse and a fiscal adjustment problem. The Samaritan’s dilemma is at work here, in the guise of a use-it-or-lose-it restriction on spending out of aid. This restriction can produce ex ante fiscal instability even when information is symmetric.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2008-18.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2008-18

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Related research

Keywords: Aid; Fiscal instability; Use it or lose it; Samaritan’s dilemma; Pooling;

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  1. Azam, Jean-Paul & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 2003. "Contracting for aid," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 25-58, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Christopher Adam & Anthony Simpasa, 2010. "Harnessing Resource Revenues for Prosperity in Zambia," OxCarre Working Papers 036, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
  2. Bwire, Thomas & Morrissey, Oliver & Lloyd, Tim, 2013. "A timeseries analysis of the impact of foreign aid on central government.s fiscal budget in Uganda," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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