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Aid and Public Finance: A Missing Link?


  • Markus Gstoettner


  • Anders Jensen



The present consensus in the literature is that foreign aid does not have the desired positive effects on economic development. This is due in great part to poorly performing public institutions in recipient countries. In order to understand better the causes of this undesirable phenomenon, we examine the relationship between multilateral foreign aid flows and recipient countries’ public finance systems. We construct a new indicator to assess the quality of public finance, the Public Finance Institutions Quality (PFIQ) Index. For our panel of 86 countries, we find that multilateral aid flows have a negative impact on recipient country PFIQ score, whereas exogenous improvements in public finance seem to attract more aid. These results provide insight into the “black box” of governance: failure to turn aid receipts into desired results seems partly attributable to multilateral aid, in its present form, not being suited to improving a country’s public finance institutions. However, international donor organisations do seem to reward exogenous improvements in quality and reliability of public finance systems. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2010

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Gstoettner & Anders Jensen, 2010. "Aid and Public Finance: A Missing Link?," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 38(2), pages 217-235, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:38:y:2010:i:2:p:217-235
    DOI: 10.1007/s11293-010-9225-3

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