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The Anarchy of Numbers: Aid, Development, and Cross-Country Empirics

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  • David Roodman

Abstract

The recent literature contains many stories of how foreign aid affects economic growth. Aid raises growth in countries with good policies, or with difficult economic environments, or outside the tropics, or on average but with diminishing returns. The diversity of the results suggests that many are fragile. Seven important aid-growth papers are tested for robustness, using 14 minimally arbitrary tests deriving mainly from differences among the studies themselves. This approach investigates the importance of potentially arbitrary specification choices while minimizing the arbitrariness in testing choices. All of the results appear fragile, especially to sample expansion. Copyright The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / the world bank . All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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  • David Roodman, 2007. "The Anarchy of Numbers: Aid, Development, and Cross-Country Empirics," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 255-277, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:21:y:2007:i:2:p:255-277
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    • O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth
    • P - Economic Systems

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