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Aiding violence or peace? : the impact of foreign aid on the risk of civil conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • J. de Ree
  • E. Nillesen

Abstract

This paper considers the impact of foreign aid on the risk of civil conflict. Previous studies on this topic have not properly addressed the problem of endogeneity between aid and conflict as well as the distorting influences of country specific time invariant effects. We propose GDP levels of donor countries as new and powerful instruments for foreign aid flows in the conflict regression. Aid flows are often defined as a fixed percentage of Donor’s GDP hence they are strongly correlated. Changes in donor GDP constitute an exogenous shock to aid received by developing countries, in the sense that it is unrelated to the endogenous aid allocation process. Hence, the identification strategy does not pick up covariation due to aid rationing in the prelude to war. In addition, we condition on a number of macro factors to rule out other possible channels through which donor GDP affects conflict. We find a statistically significant and economically important negative effect of foreign aid on the risk of civil conflict. We estimate that a ten percent increase in foreign aid decreases the risk of civil conflict by six to nine percent using different specifications.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 06-09.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:0609

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Keywords: civil conflict; foreign aid; Sub-Saharan Africa;

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  1. Alberto Alesina & David Dollar, 1998. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," NBER Working Papers 6612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Tavares, Jose, 2003. "Does foreign aid corrupt?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 99-106, April.
  3. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Rajkumar, Andrew Sunil & Swaroop, Vinaya, 1999. "What does aid to Africa finance?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2092, The World Bank.
  4. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
  5. Dean R. Hyslop, 1999. "State Dependence, Serial Correlation and Heterogeneity in Intertemporal Labor Force Participation of Married Women," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(6), pages 1255-1294, November.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Beatrice Weder, 2002. "Do Corrupt Governments Receive Less Foreign Aid?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1126-1137, September.
  7. 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.
  8. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  9. Burnside, Craig & Dollar, David, 1997. "Aid, policies, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1777, The World Bank.
  10. Raghuram Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2005. "Aid and Growth," IMF Working Papers 05/127, International Monetary Fund.
  11. William Easterly, 2003. "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 23-48, Summer.
  12. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
  13. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 2002. "Aid allocation and poverty reduction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1475-1500, September.
  14. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems 0409007, EconWPA.
  15. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2007. "Unintended Consequences: Does Aid Promote Arms Races?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(1), pages 1-27, 02.
  16. Raghuram G. Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2008. "Aid and Growth: What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 643-665, November.
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