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

  • de Ree, Joppe
  • Nillesen, Eleonora

This paper considers the impact of foreign aid flows on the risk of civil conflict. We improve on earlier studies on this topic by addressing the problem of the endogenous aid allocation using GDP levels of donor countries as instruments. A more structural addition to the literature is that we efficiently control for unobserved country specific effects in typical conflict onset and conflict continuation models by first differencing. The literature often overlooks the dynamic nature of these types of models, thereby forcing unlikely i.i.d. structures on the error terms implicitly.1 As a consequence, malfunctioning institutions, deep-rooted political grievances, or any other obvious, yet unobserved and time persistent determinants of war are simply assumed away. We find a statistically significant and economically important negative effect of foreign aid flows on the probability of ongoing civil conflicts to continue (the continuation probability), such that increasing aid flows tends to decrease civil conflict duration. We do not find a significant relationship between aid flows and the probability of civil conflicts to start (the onset probability).

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 301-313

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:88:y:2009:i:2:p:301-313
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  1. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Hansen, Henrik & Tarp, Finn, 2002. "On the Empirics of Foreign Aid and Growth," MPRA Paper 63696, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
  3. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
  4. William Easterly, 2003. "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 23-48, Summer.
  5. Alberto Alesina & David Dollar, 1998. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," NBER Working Papers 6612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Raghuram G. Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2005. "Aid and Growth: What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?," NBER Working Papers 11513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Alberto Alesina & Beatrice Weder, 1999. "Do Corrupt Governments Receive Less Foreign Aid?," NBER Working Papers 7108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Tavares, Jose, 2003. "Does foreign aid corrupt?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 99-106, April.
  10. 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.
  11. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  12. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Rajkumar, Andrew Sunil & Swaroop, Vinaya, 1999. "What does aid to Africa finance?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2092, The World Bank.
  13. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
  14. 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.
  15. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 2002. "Aid allocation and poverty reduction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1475-1500, September.
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