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Where Has All the Money Gone? Foreign Aid and the Composition of Government Spending

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  • Chatterjee Santanu

    () (University of Georgia)

  • Giuliano Paola

    () (UCLA, Anderson School of Management)

  • Kaya Ilker

    () (American University of Sharjah)

Abstract

This paper examines the link between foreign aid and the composition of government spending in aid-recipient countries. Two questions are addressed: (i) does foreign aid crowd out government spending in aid-recipient countries, and (ii) does the degree of fungibility vary across different categories of aid? Using a panel dataset of 67 countries for 1972-2000 we find that at the aggregate level about 70 percent of total aid is fungible. We also find that aid targeted for public investment crowds out about 80-90 percent of domestic government spending on public investment. Aid does not affect private investment, but has a strong positive impact on household consumption. The results are also robust to checks for causality. These findings are significant, since more than two-thirds of all aid flows to developing countries are tied to public investment projects.

Suggested Citation

  • Chatterjee Santanu & Giuliano Paola & Kaya Ilker, 2012. "Where Has All the Money Gone? Foreign Aid and the Composition of Government Spending," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-36, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:12:y:2012:i:1:p:1-36:n:31
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bain, Robert & Bartram, Jamie & Luyendijk, Rolf, 2013. "Universal Access to Drinking Water: The Role of Aid," WIDER Working Paper Series 088, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Łukasz Marć, 2017. "The Impact of Aid on Total Government Expenditures: New Evidence on Fungibility," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 627-663, August.
    3. Philippe Cyrenne & Manish Pandey, 2015. "Fiscal equalization, government expenditures and endogenous growth," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(2), pages 311-329, April.
    4. Ozgur Kaya & Ilker Kaya & Lewell Gunter, 2013. "Foreign Aid and the Quest for Poverty Reduction: Is Aid to Agriculture Effective?," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 583-596, September.
    5. Maiga, Eugenie W.H., 2014. "Does foreign aid in education foster gender equality in developing countries?," WIDER Working Paper Series 048, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Jean-Louis Combes & Rasmané Ouedraogo & Sampawende J Tapsoba, 2016. "What Does Aid Do to Fiscal Policy? New Evidence," IMF Working Papers 16/112, International Monetary Fund.

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