Politics and the Effectiveness of Foreign Aid
Critics of foreign aid programs have long argued that poverty reflects government failure. In this paper I analyze the effectiveness of foreign aid programs to gain insights into political regimes in aid recipient countries. My analytical framework shows how three stylized political/economic regimes labeled egalitarian, elitist and laissez-faire would use foreign aid. I then test reduced form equations using data on nonmilitary aid flows to 96 countries. I find that models of elitist political regimes best predict the impact of foreign aid. Aid does not significantly increase investment and growth, nor benefit the poor as measured by improvements in human development indicators, but it does increase the size of government. I also find that the impact of aid does not vary according to whether recipient governments are liberal democratic or highly repressive. But liberal political regimes and democracies, ceteris paribus, have on average 30% lower infant mortality than the least free regimes. This may be due to greater empowerment of the poor under liberal regimes even though the political elite continues to receive the benefits of aid programs. An implication is that short term aid targeted to support new liberal regimes may be a more successful means of reducing poverty than current programs.
|Date of creation:||Oct 1995|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as European Economic Review, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 289-329, February 1996|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
- Pack, Howard & Pack, Janet Rothenberg, 1993. "Foreign Aid and the Question of Fungibility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 258-65, May.
- Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1993. "Why Is Rent-Seeking So Costly to Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 409-14, May.
- Robert J. Barro, 1988.
"Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth,"
NBER Working Papers
2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S103-26, October.
- Barro, R.J., 1988. "Government Spending In A Simple Model Of Endogenous Growth," RCER Working Papers 130, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- Barro, Robert J., 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogeneous Growth," Scholarly Articles 3451296, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1987.
"The optimal collection of seigniorage : Theory and evidence,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 327-341, September.
- N. Gregory Mankiw, 1987. "The Optimal Collection of Seigniorage: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Paul M Romer, 1999.
"Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
2232, David K. Levine.
- N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990.
"A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth,"
NBER Working Papers
3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Congleton, Roger D., 1991. "Ideological conviction and persuasion in the rent-seeking society," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 65-86, February.
- Alessandra Casella & Barry Eichengreen, 1994.
"Can Foreign Aid Accelerate Stabilization?,"
NBER Working Papers
4694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994.
"Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
- Chenery, Hollis B & Eckstein, Peter, 1970. "Development Alternatives for Latin America," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(4), pages 966-1006, Part II, .
- Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
- Pack, Howard & Pack, Janet Rothenberg, 1990. "Is Foreign Aid Fungible? The Case of Indonesia," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(399), pages 188-94, March.
- Mosley, Paul & Hudson, John & Horrell, Sara, 1987. "Aid, the Public Sector and the Market in Less Developed Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 616-41, September.
- Papanek, Gustav F, 1973. "Aid, Foreign Private Investment, Savings, and Growth in Less Developed Countries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(1), pages 120-30, Jan.-Feb..
- Weisskopf, Thomas E., 1972. "The impact of foreign capital inflow on domestic savings in underdeveloped countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 25-38, February.
- Levy, Victor, 1987. "Anticipated Development Assistance, Temporary Relief Aid, and," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(386), pages 446-58, June.
- Griffin, Keith, 1970. "Foreign Capital, Domestic Savings and Economic Development," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 32(2), pages 99-112, May.
- Papanek, Gustav F, 1972. "The Effect of Aid and other Resource Transfers on Savings and Growth in Less Developed Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(327), pages 934-50, September.
- Becker, Gary S., 1985.
"Public policies, pressure groups, and dead weight costs,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 329-347, December.
- Gary S. Becker, 1984. "Public Policies, Pressure Groups, and Dead Weight Costs," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 35, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
- Levy, Victor, 1988. "Aid and growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: The recent experience," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1777-1795, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5308. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.