Aid and Growth: What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?

Raghuram G. Rajan, Arvind Subramanian

NBER Working Paper No. 11513
Issued in August 2005, Revised in February 2007
NBER Program(s):International Finance and Macroeconomics

We examine the effects of aid on growth--in cross-sectional and panel data--after correcting for the bias that aid typically goes to poorer countries, or to countries after poor performance. Even after thiscorrection, we find little robust evidence of a positive (or negative) relationship between aid inflows into a country and its economic growth. We also find no evidence that aid works better in better policy or geographical environments, or that certain forms of aid work better than others. Our findings, which relate to the past, do not imply that aid cannot be beneficial in the future. But they

do suggest that for aid to be effective in the future, the aid apparatus will have to be rethought. Our findings raise the question: what aspects of aid offset what ought to be the indisputable growth enhancing effects of resource transfers? Thus, our findings support efforts under way at national and international levels to understand and improve aid effectiveness.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11513

Published: Raghuram G. Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2008. "Aid and Growth: What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 643-665, 06. citation courtesy of

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