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Aid Absorption and Spending in Africa: A Panel Cointegration Approach

  • Pedro M. G. Martins

    ()

    (Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex)

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    This paper focuses on the macroeconomic management of large inflows of foreign aid. It investigates the extent to which African countries have coordinated fiscal and macroeconomic responses to aid surges. In practice, we construct a panel dataset to investigate the level of aid ‘absorption’ and ‘spending’. This paper departs from the recent empirical literature by utilising better measures for aid inflows and by employing cointegration analysis. The empirical short-run results suggest that, on average, Africa’s low-income countries have absorbed two-thirds of (grant) aid receipts. This suggests that most of the foreign exchange provided by the aid inflows has been used to finance imports. The other third has been used to build up international reserves, perhaps to protect economies from future external shocks. In the long-run, absorption increases but remains below its maximum (‘full absorption’). Moreover, we also show that aid resources have been fully spent, especially in support of public investment. There is only weak evidence that a share of aid flows have been ‘saved’, i.e. substituted domestic borrowing. Overall, these findings suggest that the macroeconomic management of aid inflows in Africa has been significantly better than often portrayed in comparable exercises. The implication is that African countries will be able to efficiently manage a gradual scaling up in aid resources.

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    File URL: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/economics/documents/wsp10-2010-martins/pdf
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    Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Sussex in its series Working Paper Series with number 1010.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:sus:susewp:1010
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    1. George Kapetanios & M. Hashem Pesaran & Takashi Yamagata, 2006. "Panels with Nonstationary Multifactor Error Structures," CESifo Working Paper Series 1788, CESifo Group Munich.
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    3. Peter S. Heller, 2005. "Pity the Finance Minister; Issues in Managing a Substantial Scaling-Up of Aid Flows," IMF Working Papers 05/180, International Monetary Fund.
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    5. Aiyar, Shekhar & Berg, Andrew & Hussain, Mumtaz, 2008. "The Macroeconomic Management of Increased Aid: Policy Lessons from Recent Experience," Working Paper Series RP2008/79, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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    9. Shekhar Aiyar & Ummul Hasanath Ruthbah, 2008. "Where Did All the Aid Go? An Empirical Analysis of Absorption and Spending," IMF Working Papers 08/34, International Monetary Fund.
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    14. Pesaran, M.H., 2004. "‘General Diagnostic Tests for Cross Section Dependence in Panels’," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0435, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    15. Larsson, Rolf & Lyhagen, Johan & Löthgren, Mickael, 1998. "Likelihood-Based Cointegration Tests in Heterogeneous Panels," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 250, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 27 Aug 1998.
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    18. Saikkonen, Pentti, 1991. "Asymptotically Efficient Estimation of Cointegration Regressions," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(01), pages 1-21, March.
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