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Aid, shocks, and growth

  • Collier, Paul
  • Dehn, Jan

Analysis of the relationship between aid and growth by Burnside and Dollar found that the better a country's policies, the more effective aid is in raising growth in that country. But this result has been criticized for being sensitive to choice of sample and for neglecting shocks. The authors incorporate export price shocks into the analysis of aid's effect on growth. They construct export price indices using the approach pioneered by Deaton and Miller. They locate shocks by differencing the indices, removing predictable elements from the stationary process, and normalizing the residuals. Extreme negative shocks are the bottom 2.5 percent tail of this distribution. Introducing these extremeshocks into the Burnside-Dollar regression, the authors find that they are highly significant: unsurprisingly, extreme negative shocks reduce growth. Once these shocks are included, the Burnside-Dollar results become robust to choice of sample. Moreover, the adverse effects of negative shocks on growth can be mitigated through offsetting increases in aid. Indeed, targeting aid to countries experiencing negative shocks appears to be even more important for aid effectiveness than targeting aid to countries with good policies. But the authors show that, overall, donors have not used aid for this purpose.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2688.

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Date of creation: 31 Oct 2001
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2688
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  1. Angus Deaton & Guy Laroque, 1990. "On The Behavior of Commodity Prices," NBER Working Papers 3439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dehn, Jan, 2000. "Commodity price uncertainty in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2426, The World Bank.
  3. P. Guillaumont & L. Chauvet, 2001. "Aid and Performance: A Reassessment," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6), pages 66-92.
  4. Alesina, Alberto & Dollar, David, 2000. " Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 33-63, March.
  5. Deaton, A-S & Miller, R-I, 1995. "International Commodity Prices, Macroeconomic Performance, and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa," Princeton Studies in International Economics 79, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
  6. Jan Dehn, 2000. "Commodity price uncertainty in developing countries," CSAE Working Paper Series 2000-12, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  7. Hansen, Henrik & Tarp, Finn, 2001. "Aid and growth regressions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 547-570, April.
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