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Sowing and reaping: institutional quality and project outcomes in developing countries

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  • Dollar, David
  • Levin, Victoria

Abstract

Much of the academic debate on the effectiveness of foreign aid is centered on the relationship between aid and growth. Different aid-growth studies find conflicting results: aid promotes growth everywhere; aid has a zero or negative impact on growth everywhere; or the effect of aid on growth depends on recipient-specific characteristics, such as the quality of institutions and policies. Although these studies fuel an interesting debate, cross-sectional macroeconomic studies cannot be the last word on the topic of aid effectiveness. In this paper, Dollar and Levin introduce microeconomic evidence on factors conducive to the success of aid-funded projects in developing countries. The authors use the success rate of World Bank-financed projects in the 1990s, as determined by the Operations Evaluation Department, as their dependent variable. Using instrumental variables estimation, the authors find that existence of high-quality institutions in a recipient country raises the probability that aid will be used effectively. There is also some evidence that geography matters, but location in Sub-Saharan Africa is a more robust indicator of lower project success rate than tropical climate. The authors proceed to disaggregate the success rate of World Bank projects by lending instrument type and by investment sector, finding that different institutions are more important for different types of projects. The finding of a strong relationship between institutional quality and project success serves to provide further support to the hypothesis that aid effectiveness is conditional on institutions and policies of the recipient country.

Suggested Citation

  • Dollar, David & Levin, Victoria, 2005. "Sowing and reaping: institutional quality and project outcomes in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3524, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3524
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Keith Blackburn & Gonzalo F. Forgues-Puccio, 2011. "Foreign Aid - a Fillip for Development or a Fuel for Corruption?," CDMA Working Paper Series 201107, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
    2. Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY & Patrick GUILLAUMONT, 2006. "Big Push versus Absorptive Capacity: How to Reconcile the Two Approaches," Working Papers 200614, CERDI.
    3. Limodio, Nicola, 2011. "The success of infrastructure projects in low-income countries and the role of selectivity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5694, The World Bank.
    4. Denizer, Cevdet & Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart, 2013. "Good countries or good projects? Macro and micro correlates of World Bank project performance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 288-302.
    5. Farhang Niroomand & Edward Nissan, 2012. "Relating economic infrastructure indexes to investor protection for selected emerging economies," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 36(1), pages 249-260, January.
    6. Kenny, Charles, 2006. "Measuring and reducing the impact of corruption in infrastructure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4099, The World Bank.
    7. Rabia Butt & Attiya Yasmin Javid, 2013. "Foreign Aid and the Fiscal Behaviour of Government of Pakistan," PIDE-Working Papers 2013:96, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
    8. Blum, Jurgen Rene, 2014. "What factors predict how public sector projects perform ? a review of the World Bank's public sector management portfolio," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6798, The World Bank.
    9. Avinash Dixit, 2007. "Evaluating Recipes for Development Success," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 22(2), pages 131-157, June.
    10. Presbitero, Andrea F., 2016. "Too much and too fast? Public investment scaling-up and absorptive capacity," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 17-31.
    11. Dollar, David & Levin, Victoria, 2006. "The Increasing Selectivity of Foreign Aid, 1984-2003," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2034-2046, December.
    12. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-07 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Khusrav Gaibulloev & Todd Sandler, 2012. "Aid for AIDS in Africa," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 1171-1197, December.
    14. Tierney, Michael J. & Nielson, Daniel L. & Hawkins, Darren G. & Roberts, J. Timmons & Findley, Michael G. & Powers, Ryan M. & Parks, Bradley & Wilson, Sven E. & Hicks, Robert L., 2011. "More Dollars than Sense: Refining Our Knowledge of Development Finance Using AidData," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(11), pages 1891-1906.
    15. Charles Kenny, 2011. " Publishing Construction Contracts as a Tool for Efficiency and Good Governance - Working Paper 272," Working Papers 272, Center for Global Development.
    16. Charles Kenny, William Savedoff, 2013. "Can Results-Based Payments Reduce Corruption?-Working Paper 345," Working Papers 345, Center for Global Development.
    17. Kaufmann, Daniel, 2005. "Myths and Realities of Governance and Corruption," MPRA Paper 8089, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Kargbo, Philip Michael, 2012. "Impact of Foreign Aid on Economic Growth in Sierra Leone: Empirical Analysis," WIDER Working Paper Series 007, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    19. Martin Ravallion & Adam Wagstaff, 2012. "The World Bank’s publication record," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 343-368, December.
    20. Daniele Pianeselli, 2016. "Does The one who pays the piper really call the tune? OECD and Chinese aid to infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0204, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
    21. Abdelkarim Yahyaoui & Atef Rahmani, 2009. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: Role of Institutional Quality," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 56(3), pages 327-357, September.

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