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Geopolitics and the effect of foreign aid on economic growth: 1970-2001

  • Derek Headey

    (School of Economics, The University of Queensland, Australia)

Previous aid effectiveness research often claims that foreign aid has been unsuccessful in increasing growth rates. This result could be due either to methodological weaknesses, or to genuine aid efficiency losses. Empirically, the author finds that once the best available techniques are employed, aid has a significant but moderate average effect on growth over the period 1970-2001. A promising explanation of why the estimated returns to aid are not larger is that bilateral aid had no significant effect on growth during the Cold War (pre-1990), but had a significant and sizeable effect thereafter. In contrast, multilateral aid seems to have had sizeable and significant effects throughout. These results imply that the negative conclusions drawn by earlier research should be interpreted in their proper historical context, rather than as a necessary condemnation of current aid effectiveness. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of International Development.

Volume (Year): 20 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 161-180

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:20:y:2008:i:2:p:161-180
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  1. Karuna Gomanee & Sourafel Girma & Oliver Morrissey, 2005. "Aid and growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: accounting for transmission mechanisms," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(8), pages 1055-1075.
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  3. Christopher Kilby, 2006. "Donor influence in multilateral development banks: The case of the Asian Development Bank," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 173-195, June.
  4. Rati Ram, 2004. "Recipient country's 'policies' and the effect of foreign aid on economic growth in developing countries: additional evidence," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 201-211.
  5. Michael P. Murray, 2006. "Avoiding Invalid Instruments and Coping with Weak Instruments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 111-132, Fall.
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  7. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2002. "Aid, policy, and growth in post-conflict societies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2902, The World Bank.
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  9. Raghuram G. Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2005. "Aid and Growth: What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?," NBER Working Papers 11513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Hansen, Henrik & Tarp, Finn, 2002. "On the Empirics of Foreign Aid and Growth," MPRA Paper 63696, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Berthelemy, Jean-Claude & Tichit, Ariane, 2002. "Bilateral Donors' Aid Allocation Decisions: A Three-dimensional Panel Analysis," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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  15. Georgios Karras, 2006. "Foreign aid and long-run economic growth: empirical evidence for a panel of developing countries," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 15-28.
  16. Howard White, 2001. "Will the new aid agenda help promote poverty reduction?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 1057-1070.
  17. Henrik Hansen & Finn Tarp, 2000. "Aid effectiveness disputed," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 375-398.
  18. J Harrigan & C Wang & H El-Said, 2004. "The Economic and Politics Determinants of IMF and World Bank Lending in the Middle East and North Africa," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0411, Economics, The University of Manchester.
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