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Good governance and good aid allocation

  • Epstein, Gil S.
  • Gang, Ira N.

We model the aid allocation process as a rent-seeking contest between two countries and investigate the effects of differing allocation rules on recipients' behavior in a simple framework. We investigate the aid allocation mechanism design that attempts to increase the governance quality of potential recipient countries: the potential recipients spend costly resources improving governance, while the donor country allocates the fund based on their governance quality. The paper compares two mechanisms: one uses a simple winner-takes-all tournament to award the entire available purse to the country with the best governance; while under the other aid is distributed among countries in proportion to their governance qualities. The paper shows the second mechanism outperforms the first only if competing countries are sufficiently asymmetric. Moreover, the recipient who is most effective in governance - and stands to benefit the most from development assistance - has interests opposite to those of the donor. In addition, the paper shows that if the donor country allocates the fund based on both governance and the levels of poverty, it may result in a poverty trap: the leaders of potential recipient countries deliberately allocate funds away from the poorest so as not to better their position in order to receive more aid.

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

Volume (Year): 89 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 12-18

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:89:y:2009:i:1:p:12-18
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  1. Feyzioglu, Tarhan & Swaroop, Vinaya & Zhu, Min, 1998. "A Panel Data Analysis of the Fungibility of Foreign Aid," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(1), pages 29-58, January.
  2. Mavrotas, George & Villanger, Espen, 2006. "Multilateral Aid Agencies and Strategic Donor Behaviour," Working Paper Series DP2006/02, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  3. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
  4. Epstein, Gil S., 2000. "Personal productivity and the likelihood of electoral success of political candidates," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 95-111, March.
  5. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 1999. "Aid allocation and poverty reduction," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2041, The World Bank.
  6. Gil S. Epstein & Ira N. Gang, 2006. "Contests, NGOs, and Decentralizing Aid," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 285-296, 05.
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  8. Gil S. Epstein & Shmuel Nitzan, 2006. "Effort and Performance in Public Policy Contests," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(2), pages 265-282, 05.
  9. Heckelman, Jac & Knack, Stephen, 2005. "Foreign aid and market-liberalizing reform," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3557, The World Bank.
  10. Ellingsen, T., 1990. "Strategic Buyers and the Social Cost of Monopoly," Papers 05-90, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
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  12. Nitzan, Shmuel, 1994. "Modelling rent-seeking contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-60, May.
  13. Gang, Ira N. & Ali Khan, Haider, 1990. "Foreign aid, taxes, and public investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 355-369, November.
  14. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D. & De Vries, C.G., 1991. "Rigging The Lobbying Process: An Application Of The All- Pay Auction," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1002, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
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  16. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 1998. "Caps on Political Lobbying," Microeconomics 9809003, EconWPA.
  17. Gil Epstein & Shmuel Nitzan, 2006. "Reduced prizes and increased effort in contests," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 447-453, June.
  18. Ira N. Gang & Haider Ali Khan, 1998. "Foreign Aid and Fiscal Behavior in a Bounded Rathionality Model: Different Policy Regimes," Departmental Working Papers 199812, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  19. Mark McGillivray & Simon Feeny & Niels Hermes & Robert Lensink, 2006. "Controversies over the impact of development aid: it works; it doesn't; it can, but that depends …," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(7), pages 1031-1050.
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