International aid and financial crises in donor countries
The recent global financial crisis placed new economic and fiscal pressures on donor countries that may have long-term effects on their ability and willingness to provide aid. Not only did donor-country incomes fall, but the cause of the drop — the banking and financial-sector crisis — may exacerbate the long-term effect on aid flows. This paper estimates how donor-country banking crises have affected aid flows in the past, using panel data from 24 donor countries between 1977 and 2010. We find that banking crises in donor countries are associated with a substantial additional fall in aid flows, beyond any income-related effects, at least in part because of the high fiscal costs of crisis and the debt hangover in the post-crisis periods. Aid flows from crisis-affected countries are estimated to fall by 28% or more (relative to the counterfactual) and to bottom out only about a decade after the banking crisis hits. In addition, our results confirm that donor-country incomes are robustly related to per-capita aid flows, with an elasticity of about 3. Findings are robust to estimation using either static or dynamic panel data methods to account for possible biases. Because many donor countries, which together provide two-thirds of aid, were hit hard by the global recession, this historical evidence indicates that aggregate aid could fall by a significant amount (again, relative to counterfactual) in the coming years. We also explore how crises affect different types of aid, such as social-sector and humanitarian aid, as well as whether strategic interaction among donors is likely to deepen or mitigate the fall in aid.
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