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Government Policy and the Effectiveness of Foreign Aid

Author

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  • Robert G. Murphy

    () (Boston College)

  • Nicholas G. Tresp

    (UBS Investment Bank)

Abstract

This paper reconsiders the role of economic policy in determining the effectiveness of foreign aid for generating economic growth in developing countries. We update and modify the data set originally used by Burnside and Dollar (2000) in order to more fully consider the critique presented by Easterly et al. (2004). Our findings suggest that the relationship among foreign aid, government policy, and economic growth is tenuous and depends importantly on the subset of countries included in the analysis. Good policy enhances the effectiveness of foreign aid in spurring growth when we use the original set of countries included in Burnside and Dollar, but this relationship disappears for an expanded set of countries. Because the relationship among aid, policy, and growth is likely to be nonlinear, we present an alternative probit model emphasizing growth thresholds. Our results from this alternative analysis confirm the conclusions of Easterly et al., finding little support for the view that good policy increases the probability that foreign aid contributes to growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert G. Murphy & Nicholas G. Tresp, 2006. "Government Policy and the Effectiveness of Foreign Aid," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 647, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 29 Aug 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:647
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Henrik Hansen & Finn Tarp, 2000. "Aid effectiveness disputed," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 375-398, April.
    2. Griffin, Keith, 1973. "The Effect of Aid and Other Resource Transfers on Savings and Growth in Less-Developed Countries: A Comment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 83(331), pages 863-866, September.
    3. Levy, Victor, 1987. "Does Concessionary Aid Lead to Higher Investment Rates in Low-Income Countries?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 152-156, February.
    4. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    5. P. Guillaumont & L. Chauvet, 2001. "Aid and Performance: A Reassessment," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6), pages 66-92.
    6. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
    7. Boone, Peter, 1996. "Politics and the effectiveness of foreign aid," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 289-329, February.
    8. Hansen, Henrik & Tarp, Finn, 2001. "Aid and growth regressions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 547-570, April.
    9. Fischer, Stanley, 1993. "The role of macroeconomic factors in growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 485-512, December.
    10. R. Lensink & H. White, 2001. "Are There Negative Returns to Aid?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6), pages 42-65.
    11. C-J. Dalgaard & H. Hansen, 2001. "On Aid, Growth and Good Policies," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6), pages 17-41.
    12. Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sergio, 1993. "Fiscal policy and economic growth: An empirical investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 417-458, December.
    13. William Easterly & Ross Levine & David Roodman, 2004. "Aid, Policies, and Growth: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 774-780, June.
    14. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
    15. Newlyn, Walter T, 1973. "The Effect of Aid and Other Resource Transfers on Savings and Growth in Less-Developed Countries: A Comment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 83(331), pages 867-869, September.
    16. Papanek, Gustav F, 1973. "Aid, Foreign Private Investment, Savings, and Growth in Less Developed Countries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(1), pages 120-130, Jan.-Feb..
    17. William Easterly, 2003. "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 23-48, Summer.
    18. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Henrik Hansen & Finn Tarp, 2004. "On The Empirics of Foreign Aid and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(496), pages 191-216, June.
    19. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
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    Cited by:

    1. Unbreen Qayyum, 2013. "Institutional Quality, Conflict and Aid Dependency," PIDE-Working Papers 2013:94, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
    2. repec:pje:journl:article10iii is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Ismail O. FASANYA & Adegbemi B.O ONAKOYA, 2012. "Does Foreign Aid Accelerate Economic Growth? An Empirical Analysis for Nigeria," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 2(4), pages 423-431.
    4. Tiwari Aviral Kumar, 2011. "Foreign Aid, FDI, Economic Freedom and Economic Growth in Asian Countries," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-28, September.
    5. Bah, El-hadj M. & Ward, Jeremy, 2011. "Effectiveness of foreign aid in Small Island Developing States," MPRA Paper 32062, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Wako, Hassen, 2016. "Aid, institutions and economic growth: Heterogeneous parameters and heterogeneous donors," MERIT Working Papers 009, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    7. Wako, Hassen, 2011. "Effectiveness of foreign aid in sub-Saharan Africa: Does disaggregating aid into bilateral and multilateral components make a difference?," MPRA Paper 72617, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    foreign aid; economic development; economic growth; government policy; development assistance;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies

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