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

  • David Roodman

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:, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 21 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 255-277

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:21:y:2007:i:2:p:255-277
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