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Foreign aid and rent-seeking

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  • Svensson, Jakob

Abstract

To address the relationship between concessional assistance, corruption, and other types of rent-seeking activities, the author provides a simple game-theoretic rent-seeking model. Insights with interesting implications emerge from the analysis: 1) An increase in government revenue (from windfalls, for example, or from increased foreign aid) does not necessarily lead to the provision of more public goods and in certain circumstances may reduce it. 2) The mere expectation of aid may suffice to increase rent-dissipation and reduce productive public spending. But if the donor community can enter into a binding policy commitment, this result may be reversed. The author provides some preliminary empirical evidence in support of the hypothesis that windfalls and foreign aid, in countries suffering from a divided policy process, are on average associated with more extensive corruption. He finds no evidence that donors systematically allocate aid to countries with less corruption. The results accords with recent empirical findings that aid is more effective, the greater the effort to direct it to good performers. But such a regime shift may involve an aid policy that in the short run provides more assistance to countries in less need and less aid to those in most need. Enforcing such a regime shift might be difficult.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1880.

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Date of creation: 28 Feb 1998
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1880

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Related research

Keywords: Environmental Economics&Policies; Development Economics&Aid Effectiveness; Decentralization; Gender and Development; Economic Theory&Research; Economic Theory&Research; Environmental Economics&Policies; Governance Indicators; Inequality; Development Economics&Aid Effectiveness;

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  1. Boone, Peter, 1996. "Politics and the effectiveness of foreign aid," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 289-329, February.
  2. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  3. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
  4. Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1170-88, December.
  5. Acemoglu, D. & Verdier, T., 1996. "Property Rights, Corruption and the Allocation of Talent: A General Equilibrium Approach," Working papers 96-5, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Svensson, Jakob, 1997. "When is Foreign Aid Policy Credible? - Aid Dependence and Conditionality," Seminar Papers 600, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  7. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Where Did All The Growth Go? External Shocks, Social Conflict, and Growth Collapses," NBER Working Papers 6350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Casella, Alessandra & Eichengreen, Barry, 1994. "Can Foreign Aid Accelerate Stabilization?," CEPR Discussion Papers 961, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," Papers 517a, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  10. Lane, Philip R & Tornell, Aaron, 1996. " Power, Growth, and the Voracity Effect," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 213-41, June.
  11. Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1996. " Social Conflict and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 125-42, March.
  12. Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1996. "Second-best economic policy for a divided government," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 767-774, April.
  13. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
  14. Alberto Ades & Rafael Di Tella, 1997. "The New Economics of Corruption: a Survey and Some New Results," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 45(3), pages 496-515.
  15. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1995. "Power Concentration and Growth," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1720, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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