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Is foreign aid fungible? Evidence from the education and health sectors

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  • N. VAN DE SIJPE

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Abstract

This paper takes a fresh look at the issue of foreign aid fungibility. Unlike the bulk of existing empirical studies, I employ panel data that contain information on the specific purpose for which aid is given. This allows me to link aid given for education and health purposes to recipient public spending in these sectors. In addition, I attempt to distinguish between aid flows that are recorded on the recipient’s budget and those that are off-budget, and illustrate how a failure to differentiate between on- and off-budget aid produces biased estimates of fungibility. Sector programme aid is the measure of on-budget aid, while technical cooperation serves as a proxy for off-budget aid. In both sectors, across a range of specifications, technical cooperation leads to at most a small displacement of recipient public expenditure, implying limited fungibility for this type of aid. In static fixed effects models sector programme aid shows an almost one-for-one correlation with recipient public expenditure, again suggesting low fungibility, but this effect becomes imprecise and volatile in dynamic models estimated with system GMM.

Suggested Citation

  • N. Van De Sijpe, 2010. "Is foreign aid fungible? Evidence from the education and health sectors," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 10/688, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:10/688
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Khilji, Nasir M. & Zampelli, Ernest M., 1994. "The fungibility of U.S. military and non-military assistance and the impacts on expenditures of major aid recipients," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 345-362, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    foreign aid; fungibility; public education expenditure; public health expenditure;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development

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