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The Politics Of Foreign Aid

  • Meyer, Wolfgang

    (University of Cincinnati)

  • Raimondos-Møller, Pascalis

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School)

Why do donor countries give foreign aid? The answers found in the literature are: (i) because donor countries care for recipient countries (e.g. altruism), and/or (ii) because there exist distortions that make the indirect gains from foreign aid (e.g. terms of trade effects) to be larger than the direct losses. This paper proposes a third answer to the above question, namely that aid is determined through the domestic political process of the donor country. The paper demonstrates how foreign aid affects the donor country’s income distribution and how, in a direct democracy, the majority of voters might benefit from foreign aid giving even though the country’s social welfare is reduced.

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File URL: http://openarchive.cbs.dk/cbsweb/handle/10398/7488
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Paper provided by Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 04-1999.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 02 Mar 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:cbsnow:1999_004
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Solbjerg Plads 3 C, 5. sal, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Phone: 38 15 25 75
Fax: 38 15 34 99
Web page: http://www.cbs.dk/departments/econ/
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  1. Sajal Lahiri & Pascalis Raimondos-Møller, 1999. "Lobbying by Ethnic Groups and Aid Allocation," EPRU Working Paper Series 99-05, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Oct 2003.
  2. Boone, Peter, 1996. "Politics and the effectiveness of foreign aid," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 289-329, February.
  3. Bhagwati, Jagdish N & Brecher, Richard A & Hatta, Tatsuo, 1983. "The Generalized Theory of Transfers and Welfare: Bilateral Transfers in a Multilateral World," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 606-18, September.
  4. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
  5. Dollar, David & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Scholarly Articles 4553020, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1984. "Endogenous Tariff Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 970-85, December.
  7. Elhanan Helpman, 1995. "Politics and Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 5309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Rodrik, Dani, 1995. "Political economy of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1457-1494 Elsevier.
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