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Absorptive Capacity: More Than the Volume of Aid, its Modalities Matter

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  • Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY

    () (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International(CERDI))

  • Patrick GUILLAUMONT

    () (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International(CERDI))

Abstract

We examine whether absorptive capacity represents a valid reason to reject the proposal of a large aid increase in order to help poor countries to move out of the underdevelopment trap. We consider absorptive capacity, the set of limits to an effective use of aid inflows, under for main aspects: 1) disbursement constraints, which lead to under utilisation of credits; 2) macroeconomic troubles, including loss of competitiveness and macroeconomic volatility; 3) decrease of aid returns, actually slower in more vulnerable countries, 4) institutions weakening induced by aid dependency. We argue that these limits to absorptive capacity may be removed by an improvement of aid modalities, such as better balancing between productive and social activities financed by aid, using aid as insurance against exogenous shocks, giving priority in aid allocation to “least developed countries”, which are the most vulnerable, and finally substituting a performance-based conditionality to the traditional-policy based one.

Suggested Citation

  • Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY & Patrick GUILLAUMONT, 2007. "Absorptive Capacity: More Than the Volume of Aid, its Modalities Matter," Working Papers 200702, CERDI.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdi:wpaper:886
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lisa CHAUVET & Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY & Pierre JACQUET & Bertrand SAVOYE, 2003. "Attenuating through Aid the Vulnerability to Price Shocks," Working Papers 200325, CERDI.
    2. Martin Mühleisen & Dhaneshwar Ghura & Roger Nord & Michael T. Hadjimichael & E. Murat Ucer, 1995. "Sub-Saharan Africa; Growth, Savings, and Investment, 1986-93," IMF Occasional Papers 118, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Pierre-Richard Agénor & Nihal Bayraktar & Emmanuel Pinto Moreira & Karim El Aynaoui, 2006. "Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Macroeconomic Monitoring Framework," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(11), pages 1519-1547, November.
    4. Jonathan Isham & Daniel Kaufmann, 1999. "The Forgotten Rationale for Policy Reform: The Productivity of Investment Projects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 149-184.
    5. Christopher S. Adam & David L. Bevan, 2006. "Aid and the Supply Side: Public Investment, Export Performance, and Dutch Disease in Low-Income Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 261-290.
    6. Robert Lensink & Oliver Morrissey, 2000. "Aid instability as a measure of uncertainty and the positive impact of aid on growth," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(3), pages 31-49.
    7. P. Guillaumont & L. Chauvet, 2001. "Aid and Performance: A Reassessment," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6), pages 66-92.
    8. Todd Moss & Gunilla Pettersson & Nicolas van de Walle, 2006. "An Aid-Institutions Paradox? A Review Essay on Aid Dependency and State Building in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 74, Center for Global Development.
    9. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 2002. "Aid allocation and poverty reduction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1475-1500, September.
    10. Rand, John & Tarp, Finn, 2002. "Business Cycles in Developing Countries: Are They Different?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2071-2088, December.
    11. Shantayanan Devarajan & David R. Dollar & Torgny Holmgren, 2001. "Aid and Reform in Africa : Lessons from Ten Case Studies," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13894.
    12. Isham, Jonathan & Kaufmann, Daniel & Pritchett, Lant H, 1997. "Civil Liberties, Democracy, and the Performance of Government Projects," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 219-242, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gaoussou Diarra, 2011. "Aid unpredictability and absorptive capacity: analyzing disbursement delays in Africa," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(1), pages 1004-1017.

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