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The dynamic implications of foreign aid and its variability


  • Arellano, Cristina
  • Bulír, Ales
  • Lane, Timothy
  • Lipschitz, Leslie


The paper examines the effects of aid and its volatility on consumption, investment, and the structure of production in the context of an intertemporal two-sector general equilibrium model, calibrated using data for aid-dependent countries in Africa. A permanent flow of aid mainly finances consumption rather than investment--consistent with the historical failure of aid inflows to translate into sustained growth. Large aid flows are associated with higher real exchange rates and smaller tradable sectors because aid is a substitute for tradable consumption. Aid volatility results in substantial welfare losses, providing a motivation for recent discussions of aid architecture stressing the need for greater predictability of aid. These results are also consistent with evidence from cross-country regressions of manufactured exports, presented later in the paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Arellano, Cristina & Bulír, Ales & Lane, Timothy & Lipschitz, Leslie, 2009. "The dynamic implications of foreign aid and its variability," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 87-102, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:88:y:2009:i:1:p:87-102

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pallage, Stephane & Robe, Michel A, 2001. "Foreign Aid and the Business Cycle," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(4), pages 641-672, November.
    2. Arne Bigsten & Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafchamps & Bernard Gauthier & Jan Willem Gunning & Abena Oduro & Remco Oostendorp & Catherine Pattillo & Måns Soderbom & Francis Teal & Albert Zeu, 2004. "Do African Manufacturing Firms Learn from Exporting?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(3), pages 115-141.
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    More about this item


    C68 F35 F41 Real business cycle General equilibrium Aid Transfer problem;

    JEL classification:

    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics


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