Aid Project Proliferation and Absorptive Capacity
Much public discussion about foreign aid has focused on whether and how to increase its quantity. But recently aid quality has come to the fore, by which is meant the effectiveness of the aid delivery process. This paper focuses on one process problem, the proliferation of aid projects and the associated administrative burden for recipients. It models aid delivery as a set of production activities (projects) with two inputs, the donor’s aid and a recipient-side resource, and two outputs, namely, development and “throughput,” which proxies for the private benefits for both donor and recipient of implementing projects, from kickbacks to career rewards for disbursing. The donor’s allocation of aid across projects is taken as exogenous while the recipient’s allocation of its resource is modeled and subject to a budget constraint. Unless the recipient cares purely about development, increasing aid can reduce development in some circumstances. Sunk costs, representing the administrative burden for the recipient of donor meetings and reports, are introduced. Using data on the distribution of projects by size and country, simulations of aid increases are run in order to examine how the project distribution evolves, how the recipient’s resource allocation responds, and how this affects development if the recipient is not a pure development optimizer. With Cobb-Douglas production, a threshold is revealed beyond which marginal aid effectiveness drops sharply. It occurs when development maximization calls for the recipient to withdraw from some donor-backed projects—but the recipient does not, for the sake of throughput. Donors can push back this threshold by moving to larger projects if there are scale economies in aid projects.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- David Roodman, 2004.
"An Index of Donor Performance,"
42, Center for Global Development.
- Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Hansen, Henrik & Tarp, Finn, 2002.
"On the Empirics of Foreign Aid and Growth,"
63696, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- R. Lensink & H. White, 2001.
"Are There Negative Returns to Aid?,"
Journal of Development Studies,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6), pages 42-65.
- Michael Clemens & Todd Moss, 2005.
"Ghost of 0.7%: Origins and Relevance of the International Aid Target,"
68, Center for Global Development.
- Michael Clemens & Todd Moss, 2005. "Ghost of 0.7%: Origins and Relevance of the International Aid Target," Development and Comp Systems 0509006, EconWPA.
- Michael A. Clemens & Steven Radelet, 2003. "The Millennium Challenge Account: How Much is Too Much, How Long is Long Enough?," Working Papers 23, Center for Global Development.
- Michael Clemens & Steven Radelet & Rikhil Bhavnani, 2004.
"Counting Chickens When They Hatch: The Short-term Effect of Aid on Growth,"
44, Center for Global Development.
- Michael A. Clemens & Steven Radelet & Rikhil Bhavnani, 2004. "Counting chickens when they hatch: The short-term effect of aid on growth," International Finance 0407010, EconWPA.
- Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 1999.
"Aid allocation and poverty reduction,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2041, The World Bank.
- Morss, Elliott R., 1984. "Institutional destruction resulting from donor and project proliferation in Sub-Saharan African countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 465-470, April.
- Hansen, Henrik & Tarp, Finn, 2000.
"Aid and Growth Regressions,"
62288, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Hansen, Henrik & Tarp, Finn, 1999.
"Aid Effectiveness Disputed,"
62290, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Arnab Acharya & Ana Teresa Fuzzo de Lima & Mick Moore, 2006. "Proliferation and fragmentation: Transactions costs and the value of aid," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(1), pages 1-21.
- Martin MÃ¼hleisen & 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:75. 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)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.