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Aid and Government Fiscal Behaviour: What Does the Evidence Say?

  • Morrissey, Oliver
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    Donors are concerned about how their aid is used, especially how it affects fiscal behaviour by recipient governments. This study reviews the recent evidence on the effects of aid on government spending and tax effort in recipient countries, concluding with a discussion of when (general) budget support is a fiscally efficient aid modality. Severe data limitations restrict inferences on the relationship between aid and spending, especially as the government is not aware of all the aid available to finance the provision of public goods. Three generalizations are permitted by the evidence: aid finances government spending; the extent to which aid is fungible is over-stated and even where it is fungible this does not appear to make the aid less effective; and there is no systematic effect of aid on tax effort. Beyond these conclusions the fiscal effects of aid are country-specific.

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    File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/stc/repec/pdfs/wp2012/wp2012-001.pdf
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    Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number UNU-WIDER Research Paper WP2012/01.

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    Length: 19
    Date of creation: 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2012-01
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    1. Robert Osei & Oliver Morrissey & Tim Lloyd, 2005. "The fiscal effects of aid in Ghana," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(8), pages 1037-1053.
    2. Van de Sijpe, Nicolas, 2013. "Is foreign aid fungible ? evidence from the education and health sectors," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6346, The World Bank.
    3. Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak, 2009. "Globalisation and Developing Countries - a Shrinking Tax Base?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(5), pages 653-671.
    4. van de Walle, Dominique & Ren Mu, 2007. "Fungibility and the flypaper effect of project aid : micro-evidence for Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4133, The World Bank.
    5. Mkandawire, Thandika, 2010. "On Tax Efforts and Colonial Heritage in Africa," Arbetsrapport 2010:10, Institute for Futures Studies.
    6. Bazoumana Ouattara, 2006. "Aid, debt and fiscal policies in Senegal," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(8), pages 1105-1122.
    7. Wagstaff, Adam, 2011. "Fungibility and the impact of development assistance: Evidence from Vietnam's health sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 62-73, January.
    8. Jan Pettersson, 2007. "Foreign sectoral aid fungibility, growth and poverty reduction," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(8), pages 1074-1098.
    9. Paul Clist & Oliver Morrissey, 2011. "Aid and tax revenue: Signs of a positive effect since the 1980s," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 165-180, March.
    10. Paul Clist & Alessia Isopi & Oliver Morrissey, 2012. "Selectivity on aid modality: Determinants of budget support from multilateral donors," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 267-284, September.
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