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How should donors give foreign aid? Project aid versus budget support

Author

Listed:
  • Izabela Jelovac

    () (GATE, University of Lyon, CNRS, ENS-LSH, Centre Léon Bérard, France)

  • Frieda Vandeninden

    () (MGSoG, Universiteit Maastricht)

Abstract

We develop a theoretical model to compare the two major foreign aid modalities: project aid and budget support. These two modalities have a different impact on the production of ‘developmental goods’. Firstly, conditionality can be associated with budget support, but only a subset of the developmental expenses – the observable ones – can be subject to conditionality. Secondly, when using project aid, the donors control the overall allocation of the aid resources. However, we consider that, because of limited harmonisation and coordination, project aid can be associated with a cost of imperfect fit. We develop a unified framework to compare these two modalities where we allow the simultaneous utilisation of both instruments. We show that all the aid should be given via budget support, no matter whether conditionality is used or not. Furthermore, we show that the optimal use of conditionality depends on the recipient’s developmental preferences, the productivity of the inputs and the level of aid compared to the recipient’s budget: when these parameters are relatively high, conditionality should be enforced. Otherwise, the optimal aid allocation is such that all the aid is given through unconditional budget support. We conclude that conditionality does not always improve the aid effectiveness.

Suggested Citation

  • Izabela Jelovac & Frieda Vandeninden, 2008. "How should donors give foreign aid? Project aid versus budget support," Working Papers 0813, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
  • Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:0813
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Azam, Jean-Paul & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 2003. "Contracting for aid," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 25-58, February.
    2. Arvind Subramanian & Raghuram Rajan, 2005. "What Undermines Aid’s Impact on Growth?," IMF Working Papers 05/126, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Svensson, Jakob, 2003. "Why conditional aid does not work and what can be done about it?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 381-402, April.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & Dollar, David, 2000. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 33-63, March.
    5. Torsvik, Gaute, 2005. "Foreign economic aid; should donors cooperate?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 503-515, August.
    6. Svensson, Jakob, 2000. "Foreign aid and rent-seeking," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 437-461, August.
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    8. Boone, Peter, 1996. "Politics and the effectiveness of foreign aid," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 289-329, February.
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    11. Carsten Hefeker, 2006. "Project Aid or Budget Aid? The Interests of Governments and Financial Institutions," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 241-252, May.
    12. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
    13. Tito Cordella & Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, 2007. "Budget Support Versus Project Aid: A Theoretical Appraisal," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1260-1279, October.
    14. William Easterly, 2003. "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 23-48, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alok Kumar, 2014. "Foreign Aid, Incentives and Efficiency: Can Foreign Aid Lead to Efficient Level of Investment?," Department Discussion Papers 1406, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
    2. Paul Clist & Alessia Isopi & Oliver Morrissey, 2012. "Selectivity on aid modality: Determinants of budget support from multilateral donors," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 267-284, September.
    3. Axel Dreher & Valentin F. Lang & Sebastian Ziaja, 2017. "Foreign Aid in Areas of Limited Statehood," CESifo Working Paper Series 6340, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Bah, El-hadj M. & Ward, Jeremy, 2011. "Effectiveness of foreign aid in Small Island Developing States," MPRA Paper 32062, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    conditionality; foreign aid; optimal contract;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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