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The effect of aid on growth : evidence from a quasi-experiment

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  • Galiani, Sebastian
  • Knack, Stephen
  • Xu, Lixin Colin
  • Zou, Ben

Abstract

The literature on aid and growth has not found a convincing instrumental variable to identify the causal effects of aid. This paper exploits an instrumental variable based on the fact that since 1987, eligibility for aid from the International Development Association (IDA) has been based partly on whether or not a country is below a certain threshold of per capita income. The paper finds evidence that other donors tend to reinforce rather than compensate for reductions in IDA aid following threshold crossings. Overall, aid as a share of gross national income (GNI) drops about 59 percent on average after countries cross the threshold. Focusing on the 35 countries that have crossed the income threshold from below between 1987 and 2010, a positive, statistically significant, and economically sizable effect of aid on growth is found. A one percentage point increase in the aid to GNI ratio from the sample mean raises annual real per capita growth in gross domestic product by approximately 0.35 percentage points. The analysis shows that the main channel through which aid promotes growth is by increasing physical investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Galiani, Sebastian & Knack, Stephen & Xu, Lixin Colin & Zou, Ben, 2014. "The effect of aid on growth : evidence from a quasi-experiment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6865, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6865
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Achieving Shared Growth; Economic Theory&Research; Development Economics&Aid Effectiveness; Inequality; Country Strategy&Performance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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