Sebastian Edwards, 28 November 2014

The effectiveness of official development aid is the subject of heated debate. This column argues that aid affects recipient economies in extremely complex ways and through multiple and changing channels. Moreover, this is a two-way relationship – realities in recipient countries affect the actions of aid agencies. This relationship is so intricate and time-dependent that it is not amenable to being captured by cross-country or panel regressions. Even sophisticated specifications with multiple breakpoints and nonlinearities are unlikely to explain the inner workings of the aid–performance connection.

Axel Dreher, Andreas Fuchs, 27 January 2012

China is often accused of providing ‘rogue aid’. China is said to be more interested in securing natural resources, export markets, and political alliances than concerned about the development of needy countries This column looks at the data on China’s aid allocations between 1996 and 2005. It finds that China is in fact no more self-serving than most Western donors.

Era Dabla-Norris, Camelia Minoiu, Luis-Felipe Zanna, 06 April 2011

With job losses, debt crises, budget cuts, and the ongoing debate on financial regulation, the question of what the global crisis means for development aid has been pushed to one side. This column argues that unless we keep a closer eye, donor countries are likely to shun their aid commitments, cutting them back disproportionately with the world’s poorest forced to suffer.

Raphael Auer, 26 July 2008

Why are some economies rich and others poor? The economics profession is divided between rival schools of thought that emphasise geography or institutions. This column assesses the relative importance of each using the interaction of history and geography. The answer raises major policy implications.

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