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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. Raghuram G. Rajan, 2005. "Aid and Growth: What Does The Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?," Working Papers id:54, eSocialSciences.
  2. 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.
  3. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems 0409007, EconWPA.
  4. 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.
  5. Burnside, Craig & Dollar, David, 1997. "Aid, policies, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1777, The World Bank.
  6. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Henrik Hansen & Finn Tarp, 2004. "On The Empirics of Foreign Aid and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(496), pages F191-F216, 06.
  7. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
  8. Alberto Alesina & Beatrice Weder, 1999. "Do Corrupt Governments Receive Less Foreign Aid?," NBER Working Papers 7108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. William Easterly, 2003. "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 23-48, Summer.
  10. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  11. Alesina, Alberto & Dollar, David, 2000. " Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 33-63, March.
  12. 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.
  13. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Rajkumar, Andrew Sunil & Swaroop, Vinaya, 1999. "What does aid to Africa finance?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2092, The World Bank.
  14. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 2002. "Aid allocation and poverty reduction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1475-1500, September.
  15. Tavares, Jose, 2003. "Does foreign aid corrupt?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 99-106, April.
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