Consequences of Debt Relief Initiatives in the 1990s
In this paper I investigate the effects of recent debt relief initiatives such as the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative of 1996 on resource flows to developing countries. Focusing on a sample of low-income countries, I concentrate on the following questions. First, is the HIPC initiative selective in the sense of “rewarding” improved policies in HIPC countries with higher transfers? Measuring improvement directly with dummy variables representing progress in the initiative, I find that good macroeconomic management does not seem to matter in terms of the level of resource transfers and foreign aid received by a HIPC country. Second, have HIPCs and non-HIPCs experienced reductions in aid inflows (other than debt relief) in the 1990s and early 2000s? My estimates suggest that countries classified as HIPCs received higher (official and aggregate) net transfers than non- HIPC countries in the first half of the 1990s. These differences persist after 1996, however, at a lower level. Looking at net official development assistance, differences between HIPC countries and non-HIPC countries persist throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, with higher levels of aid going to HIPC countries. Third, have the debt relief initiatives in the 1990s provided additional resources to low-income countries? Confirming findings in earlier literature, my results suggest that aid flows have not changed significantly in response to debt relief.
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