IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Anarchy of Numbers: Aid, Development, and Cross-country Empirics—Revised July 2004

  • David Roodman

    ()

Contemporary econometric literature has generated a large number of stories of the relationship between how much foreign aid a countries receives and how it grows. All the stories hinge on the statistical significance in cross-country regressions of a quadratic term involving aid. Among the stories are that aid raises growth (on aver-age) 1) in countries where economic policies are good; 2) in countries where policies are good and a civil war recently ended; 3) in all countries, but with diminishing returns; 4) in countries outside the tropics; 5) in countries with difficult economic environments, characterized by declining or volatile terms of trade, natural disasters, or low population; or 6) when aid increases in countries experiencing negative export price shocks. The diversity of results prima facie suggests that many are fragile. Easterly et al. (2004) find the aid-policy story (Burnside and Dollar, 2000) to be fragile in the face of an expansion of the data set in years and countries. The present study expands that analysis by applying more tests, and to more studies. Each test involves altering just one aspect of the regressions. All 19 tests are derived from sources of variation that are minimally arbitrary. Twelve derive from specification differences between studies, what Leamer (1983) calls “whimsy.” Three derive from doubts about the appropriateness of the definition of one variable in one study. The remaining four derive from the passage of time, which allows sample expansion. This design allows an examination of the role of “whimsy” in the results that are tested while minimizing “whimsy” in the testing itself. Among the stories examined, the aid-policy link proves weakest, while the aid-tropics link is most robust.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/2745
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 32.

as
in new window

Length: 64 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:32
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.cgdev.org

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:32. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Roodman)

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask David Roodman to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.