Aid, Conflict and Human Development
A large and growing literature addresses the impact of foreign aid on the growth of per capita incomes in recipient countries. While this link is important, given its implications for poverty reduction, an arguably more important link is that between aid and human development, broadly defined. This paper looks at the impact of aid on the Human Development Index (HDI), the best known and most widely used composite measure of national human development achievement. The paper is particularly interested in the impact of conflict on human development and in links between conflict, aid and human development. These relationships are examined in an econometric analysis of 2001 HDI levels in a sample of 94 developing countries. Twenty-six of these countries are conflict-affected. A number of interesting results emerge, many of which are in stark contrast with those reported in the aid-growth literature. The main findings of this analysis are that conflict and aid are negatively associated with HDI levels, and therefore, that aid does not offset the negative impact of conflict on human development. The second of these findings is puzzling, to the extent that it is inconsistent with most findings in the aid effectiveness literature. The paper also finds that aid is neither more nor less effective, in terms of its impact on human development, in conflict scenarios
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