Debt Relief and Governance Quality in Developing Countries
Summary In this paper we empirically discuss whether or not debt relief has been economically rational in the past 15 years. From analyzing the determinants of debt relief, our results suggest that governance quality did not play a role in the decision of creditor countries to forgive debt in the 1990s. Furthermore, even the actual debt burden of highly indebted poor countries was not crucial in deciding whether or not debt forgiveness was granted. Rather, debt relief followed a strong path dependence: those countries whose debt had been forgiven in the first half of the 1990s were also granted debt forgiveness in the second half of the decade. However, this allocation pattern changed at the beginning of the 21st century, when path dependence diminished and some dimensions of governance quality were taken into account by donor countries.
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