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Aid and Public Finance: A Missing Link?

  • Markus Gstoettner


  • Anders Jensen


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    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

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    Article provided by International Atlantic Economic Society in its journal Atlantic Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 217-235

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:38:y:2010:i:2:p:217-235
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    1. Van Rijckeghem, Caroline & Weder, Beatrice, 2001. "Bureaucratic corruption and the rate of temptation: do wages in the civil service affect corruption, and by how much?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 307-331, August.
    2. William Easterly & Ross Levine & David Roodman, 2004. "Aid, Policies, and Growth: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 774-780, June.
    3. Boone, Peter, 1996. "Politics and the effectiveness of foreign aid," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 289-329, February.
    4. Dollar, David & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Scholarly Articles 4553020, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Afonso, António & Ebert, Werner & Schuknecht, Ludger & Thöne, Michael, 2005. "Quality of public finances and growth," Working Paper Series 0438, European Central Bank.
    6. Alberto Alesina & Beatrice Weder, 2002. "Do Corrupt Governments Receive Less Foreign Aid?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1126-1137, September.
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