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Need, Merit or Self-Interest - What Determines the Allocation of Aid?


  • Anke Hoeffler
  • Verity Outram


Previous studies into aid allocation have concluded that foreign aid is allocated not only according to development needs but also according to donor self-interest. We revisit this topic and allow for donor as well as recipient specific effects in our analysis. Our results indicate that roughly half of the predicted value of aid is determined by donor specific effects. Of the remaining variation, recipient need accounts for 36 percent and donor selfinterest or about 16 percent. This suggests that the previous literature has overstated the importance of donor self-interest. However, bilateral donors seem to place little importance on recipient merit. Recipient merit, measured by growth, democracy and human rights, accounts for only two percent of predicted aid.

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  • Anke Hoeffler & Verity Outram, 2008. "Need, Merit or Self-Interest - What Determines the Allocation of Aid?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2008-19, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2008-19

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    1. Poelhekke, Steven & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2007. "Volatility, Financial Development and the Natural Resource Curse," CEPR Discussion Papers 6513, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2006. "Challenges and Opportunities for Resource Rich Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 5688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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