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How should donors give foreign aid? Project aid versus budget support

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Author Info

  • Izabela Jelovac

    (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines)

  • Frieda Vandeninden

    (MGSoG - Maastricht Graduate School of Governance - Universiteit Maastricht)

Abstract

We develop a theoretical model to compare the two major foreign aid modalities: project aid and budget support. These two modalities have a different impact on the production of 'developmental goods'. Firstly, conditionality can be associated with budget support, but only a subset of the developmental expenses - the observable ones - can be subject to conditionality. Secondly, when using project aid, the donors control the overall allocation of the aid resources. However, we consider that, because of limited harmonisation and coordination, project aid can be associated with a cost of imperfect fit. We develop a unified framework to compare these two modalities where we allow the simultaneous utilisation of both instruments. We show that all the aid should be given via budget support, no matter whether conditionality is used or not. Furthermore, we show that the optimal use of conditionality depends on the recipient's developmental preferences, the productivity of the inputs and the level of aid compared to the recipient's budget: when these parameters are relatively high, conditionality should be enforced. Otherwise, the optimal aid allocation is such that all the aid is given through unconditional budget support. We conclude that conditionality does not always improve the aid effectiveness.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00293130.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00293130

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Keywords: conditionality - foreign aid - optimal contract;

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References

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  1. Hefeker, Carsten, 2005. "Project Aid or Budget Aid? The Interests of Governments and Financial Institutions," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Kiel 2005 19, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  2. Burnside, Craig & Dollar, David, 1997. "Aid, policies, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1777, The World Bank.
  3. Raghuram G. Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2005. "What Undermines Aid's Impact on Growth?," NBER Working Papers 11657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dollar, David & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Scholarly Articles 4553020, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Svensson, Jakob, 2003. "Why conditional aid does not work and what can be done about it?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 381-402, April.
  6. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 1999. "Aid allocation and poverty reduction," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2041, The World Bank.
  7. Svensson, Jakob, 2000. "Foreign aid and rent-seeking," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 437-461, August.
  8. William Easterly, 2003. "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 23-48, Summer.
  9. Boone, Peter, 1996. "Politics and the effectiveness of foreign aid," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 289-329, February.
  10. Tito Cordella & Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, 2007. "Budget Support Versus Project Aid: A Theoretical Appraisal," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1260-1279, October.
  11. Tarp, Finn, 2006. "Aid and Development," MPRA Paper 13171, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Torsvik, Gaute, 2005. "Foreign economic aid; should donors cooperate?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 503-515, August.
  13. Azam, Jean-Paul & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 2003. "Contracting for aid," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 25-58, February.
  14. Hansen, Henrik & Tarp, Finn, 2001. "Aid and growth regressions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 547-570, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Bah, El-hadj M. & Ward, Jeremy, 2011. "Effectiveness of foreign aid in Small Island Developing States," MPRA Paper 32062, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Paul Clist & Alessia Isopi & Oliver Morrissey, 2012. "Selectivity on aid modality: Determinants of budget support from multilateral donors," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 267-284, September.

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