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Can Foreign Aid Buy Investment? Appropriation Through Conflict

  • David M. Bruner
  • Robert J. Oxoby

The failure of foreign aid to promote growth in the developing world has received significant attention as evidence suggests that foreign aid does not translate into investment. This research has demonstrated that poor institutions in these developing economies (particularly with respect to property rights) results in an inability to fully appropriate the return to one’s investment, thereby serving as a prominent disincentive to investment. This paper presents an experimental test of a a 2-player, one-shot game of conflict in which we vary the strength of property rights. Our results suggest that stronger property rights reduce conflict and increase investment. In addition, we test the conventional wisdom that technological progress can increase the effectiveness of aid in stimulating investment. Contrary to intuition, we find technological progress has practically no effect on investment and that this failure to stimulate investment is largely due to deficiencies in property right institutions. Key Words: Property Rights; Conflict; Investment; Foreign Aid; Experiments

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Appalachian State University in its series Working Papers with number 09-06.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:09-06
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Web page: http://www.business.appstate.edu/departments/economics/

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  17. Yvonne Durham & Jack Hirshleifer & Vernon L. Smith, 1997. "Do the Richer get Richer and the Poor Poorer? Experimental Tests of a Model of Power," UCLA Economics Working Papers 770, UCLA Department of Economics.
  18. Lensink, Robert & White, Howard, 1999. "Are there negative returns to aid?," Research Report 99E60, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  19. Gonzalez, Francisco M., 2007. "Effective property rights, conflict and growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 127-139, November.
  20. Gonzalez, Francisco M. & Neary, Hugh M., 2008. "Prosperity without conflict," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2170-2181, October.
  21. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1993. "Why Is Rent-Seeking So Costly to Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 409-14, May.
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