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Is Foreign Aid Fungible? Evidence from the Education and Health Sectors

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  • Nicolas Van de Sijpe

Abstract

This paper adopts a new approach to the issue of foreign aid fungibility. Unlike most existing empirical studies, I employ panel data that contain information on the specific purposes for which aid is given. This approach enables me to link aid that is provided for education and health purposes to recipient public spending in these sectors. In addition, I distinguish between aid flows that are recorded on a recipient's budget and those that are not recorded, and I illustrate how the previous failure to differentiate between on- and off-budget aid produces biased estimates of fungibility. Sector program aid is the measure of on-budget aid, whereas technical cooperation serves as a proxy for off-budget aid. I show that the appropriate treatment of off-budget aid leads to lower fungibility estimates than those reported in many previous studies. Specifically, I find that in both sectors and across a range of specifications, technical cooperation, which is the largest component of total education and health aid, leads to, at most, a small displacement of recipient public expenditures. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Van de Sijpe, 2013. "Is Foreign Aid Fungible? Evidence from the Education and Health Sectors," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 27(2), pages 320-356.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:27:y:2013:i:2:p:320-356
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/wber/lhs023
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nicolas Depetris Chauvin & Aart Kraay, 2005. "What Has 100 Billion Dollars Worth of Debt Relief Done for Low- Income Countries?," International Finance 0510001, EconWPA.
    2. William Gould, 2006. "Mata Matters: Precision," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 6(4), pages 550-560, December.
    3. Khilji, Nasir M. & Zampelli, Ernest M., 1994. "The fungibility of U.S. military and non-military assistance and the impacts on expenditures of major aid recipients," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 345-362, April.
    4. Nicholas J. Cox, 2006. "Stata tip 33: Sweet sixteen: Hexadecimal formats and precision problems," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 6(2), pages 282-283, June.
    5. Arellano, Manuel, 1993. "On the testing of correlated effects with panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1-2), pages 87-97, September.
    6. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development

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