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How Does Conditional Aid (Not) Work?

  • Rodney Ramcharan

Does policy conditionality worsen domestic welfare, as governments are forced to attempt unpopular reforms resulting in damaging protests, or does conditionality help implement reforms that otherwise would have been impossible? This paper analyzes these questions. Using a game-theoretic framework, it argues that the impact of conditional aid on welfare is nonmonotonic. Sufficiently conditioned aid can enhance the signaling power of reform announcements, thereby deterring protest and enabling reform. In contrast, inadequately conditioned aid may induce a "weak" government to mistakenly attempt reform, resulting in protest and a worsening of domestic welfare relative to the status quo.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 02/183.

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Length: 26
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:02/183
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Allan Drazen, 1989. "Why are Stabilizations Delayed?," NBER Working Papers 3053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-55, December.
  3. Collier, Paul & Gunning, Jan Willem, 1999. "The IMF's Role in Structural Adjustment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(459), pages F634-51, November.
  4. Dollar, David & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Scholarly Articles 4553020, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Drazen, Allan & Grilli, Vittorio, 1993. "The Benefit of Crises for Economic Reforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 598-607, June.
  6. Alessandra Casella & Barry Eichengreen, 1994. "Can Foreign Aid Accelerate Stabilization?," NBER Working Papers 4694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Rodney Ramcharan, 2003. "Reputation, Debt, and Policy Conditionality," IMF Working Papers 03/192, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Giulio Federico, 2001. "Samaritans, Rotten Kids and Policy Conditionality," CSAE Working Paper Series 2001-16, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  9. James M. Boughton & Alex Mourmouras, 2002. "Is Policy Ownership An Operational Concept?," IMF Working Papers 02/72, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Understanding Economic Policy Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 9-41, March.
  11. Giulio Federico, 2001. "Samaritans, Rotten Kids and Policy Conditionality," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2001-16, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  12. Robert J Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2003. "IMF Programs: Who Is Chosen and What Are the Effects?," Departmental Working Papers 2003-09, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  13. Drazen, Allan, 2002. "Conditionality and Ownership in IMF Lending: A Political Economy Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 3562, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
  15. International Monetary Fund, 1998. "Do IMF-Supported Programs Work? a Survey of the Cross-Country Empirical Evidence," IMF Working Papers 98/169, International Monetary Fund.
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