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Decentralization and Foreign Aid Effectiveness: Do Aid Modality and Federal Design Matter in Poverty Alleviation?

  • Christian Lessmann
  • Gunther Markwardt

This paper empirically studies the impact of decentralization on foreign aid effectiveness. For this purpose, we examine a commonly used empirical growth model, considering aid modality as well as different measures of political and fiscal decentralization. Our panel estimations reveal that fiscal decentralization negatively impacts aid effectiveness, while measures of political decentralization have no significant effect or even a positive one. This result is robust for grants and overall ODA, while the growth impact of other aid types is not generally conditional on decentralization. We therefore conclude that donor countries should carefully consider how both anti-poverty instruments - foreign assistance and decentralization - work together.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3035.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3035
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  1. Jan K. Brueckner, 2000. "Fiscal Decentralization in Developing Countries: The Effects of Local Corruption and Tax Evasion," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 1(1), pages 1-18, May.
  2. Lessmann, Christian & Markwardt, Gunther, 2010. "One Size Fits All? Decentralization, Corruption, and the Monitoring of Bureaucrats," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 631-646, April.
  3. Fan, C. Simon & Lin, Chen & Treisman, Daniel, 2009. "Political decentralization and corruption: Evidence from around the world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 14-34, February.
  4. Henrik Hansen & Finn Tarp, 2000. "Aid effectiveness disputed," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 375-398.
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  7. Charles C. Chang & Eduardo Fernández-Arias & Luis Servén, 1998. "Measuring Aid Flows: A New Approach," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6447, Inter-American Development Bank.
  8. Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 2001. "Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China," CEMA Working Papers 58, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  9. Iimi, Atsushi, 2005. "Decentralization and economic growth revisited: an empirical note," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 449-461, May.
  10. Muhammed Islam, 2005. "Regime changes, economic policies and the effect of aid on growth," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(8), pages 1467-1492.
  11. Annen Kurt & Kosempel Stephen, 2009. "Foreign Aid, Donor Fragmentation, and Economic Growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-32, August.
  12. George Economides & Sarantis Kalyvitis & Apostolis Philippopoulos, 2008. "Does foreign aid distort incentives and hurt growth? Theory and evidence from 75 aid-recipient countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 463-488, March.
  13. Mark McGillivray & Simon Feeny & Niels Hermes & Robert Lensink, 2006. "Controversies over the impact of development aid: it works; it doesn't; it can, but that depends …," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(7), pages 1031-1050.
  14. Oates, Wallace E., 1993. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Development," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 237-43, June.
  15. Gary Woller & Kerk Phillips, 1998. "Fiscal decentralisation and IDC economic growth: An empirical investigation," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(4), pages 139-148.
  16. Swaroop, Vinaya & Jha, Shikha & Sunil Rajkumar, Andrew, 2000. "Fiscal effects of foreign aid in a federal system of governance: The case of India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 307-330, September.
  17. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Hansen, Henrik & Tarp, Finn, 2002. "On the Empirics of Foreign Aid and Growth," MPRA Paper 63696, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. Doucouliagos , H. & Paldam, M., 2007. "The aid effectiveness literature: The sad results of 40 years of research," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0773, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  19. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Decentralisation and Accountability in Infrastructure Delivery in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 101-127, 01.
  20. Davoodi, Hamid & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Study," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 244-257, March.
  21. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
  22. Hristos Doucouliagos & Martin Paldam, 2009. "Development Aid and Growth: An association converging to zero," Economics Working Papers 2009-17, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
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