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Macroeconomic Issues in Foreign Aid

Listed author(s):
  • Peter Hjertholm

    (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Jytte Laursen

    (Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Danida))

  • Howard White

    (University of Sussex, IDS)

The macroeconomic rationale for aid relates to its ability to supplem­ent savings, foreign exchange and government revenue, thus contributing to ­growth. This processes presumes a simple ­Harrod-Domar context in which growth is driven by physical capital formation. ­However, the macroeconomic reality of aid is more complicated. Three areas of complication are discussed: (i) the effects of aid on fiscal behaviour, (ii) debt problems and (iii) Dutch disease effects. In the long run, rather than merely filling gaps, aid should help close­ gaps, since reliance on future aid and foreign borrowing is thus diminished and economic policy autonomy is increased. Closing the savings gap entails financial and technical support for mobilisation of domestic savings. Closing the trade gap entails supporting a macro environment conducive to export growth, helping to expand and improve physical infrastructure and direct support for export activities, notably those of a non-traditional nature. Closing the fiscal gap entails support for increasing government revenue and improving expenditure management, which is the more delicate task since donors and recipient governments have to carefully balance the disadvantage of lower-than-needed government spending against the disadvantage of higher, and potentially distortionary, taxation.

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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 00-05.

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Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2000
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0005
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