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The Aid Effectiveness Literature: The Sad Results Of 40 Years Of Research

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  • Hristos Doucouliagos
  • Martin Paldam

Abstract

The aid effectiveness literature (AEL) consists of empirical macroeconomic estimates of the effects of development aid. By the end of 2004, it comprised 97 econometric studies of three families of related effects. Each family has been analyzed in a separate meta-analysis. The AEL is an ideal subject for meta-analysis as it uses only a few formally similar models to estimate the same underlying effects. It is also an area with strong beliefs, often generated by altruism. When this whole literature is examined, a clear pattern emerges. After 40 years of development aid, the preponderance of the evidence indicates that aid has not been effective. We show that the distribution of results is significantly asymmetric reflecting the reluctance of the research community to publish negative results. The Dutch disease effect on exchange rates provides a plausible explanation for the observed aid ineffectiveness. Copyright © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Hristos Doucouliagos & Martin Paldam, 2009. "The Aid Effectiveness Literature: The Sad Results Of 40 Years Of Research," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 433-461, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:23:y:2009:i:3:p:433-461
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Weisskopf, Thomas E, 1972. "An Econometric Test of Alternative Constraints on the Growth of Underdeveloped Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 54(1), pages 67-78, February.
    2. Haldrup, Niels & Hylleberg, Svend & Pons, Gabriel & Sanso, Andreu, 2007. "Common Periodic Correlation Features and the Interaction of Stocks and Flows in Daily Airport Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 21-32, January.
    3. Hristos Doucouliagos & Martin Paldam, 2005. "Aid Effectiveness on Growth. A Meta Study," Economics Working Papers 2005-13, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    4. Francesco Busato & Bruno Chiarini & Enrico Marchetti, 2005. "Fiscal Policy under Indeterminacy and Tax Evasion," Economics Working Papers 2005-09, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B2 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid

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    1. Meta-Analysis in Economics

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