Dan Nuer, 22 May 2018

For Ghana to move beyond aid to being self-sufficient on its own tax revenues, it must first gather huge amounts of data on the tax profiles of its citizens and businesses. Dan Nuer talks about the challenges the Ghanaian government faces in doing this, and how its work with the Institute for Fiscal Studies can help address them.

Olivier Sterck, Max Roser, Mthuli Ncube, Stefan Thewissen, 16 February 2018

Large multilateral organisations like WHO and the UN rely heavily on average income data in determining eligibility for, and the allocation of, development assistance for health. This column tests this paradigm by analysing the determinants of health outcomes for 99 countries. A country’s epidemiological surroundings, poverty gap, and institutional capacity appear to be much better predictors of health outcomes than gross national income. These findings suggest alternative metrics that could be leveraged in allocating development assistance for health.

Michael Clemens, 03 January 2018

Does financial aid contribute to economic growth? In this video, Michael Clemens argues it has, on average, positive effects on growth but the investment has diminishing returns. This video was recorded at the Royal Economic Conference held in London in April 2013.

Axel Dreher, Sarah Langlotz, Silvia Marchesi, 02 December 2016

Despite its many benefits, donor governments show little enthusiasm for budget aid, instead preferring to give project aid over which they have greater control. This column argues that budget aid is better than project-specific aid because it attributes full responsibility of expenditure to the recipient government, allowing voters to respond at the ballot boxes to how well the aid is used.

Philipp Hühne, Birgit Meyer, Peter Nunnenkamp, 31 July 2013

One of the few areas where multilateral trade talks are making progress is the so-called Aid-for-Trade Initiative designed to remove frictional barriers to trade such as in transportation, communication and energy infrastructure. This column discusses research suggesting that both donors and recipients benefit from the aid. Aid-for-Trade, however, seems to best promote the exports of middle-income countries rather than, for instance, sub-Saharan African ones.

Eli Berman, Joe Felter, Jacob Shapiro, Erin Troland, 26 May 2013

Can foreign aid help countries emerge from civil war? This paper presents new research that suggests that injecting lots of money into conflict zones may in fact encourage corruption and violence. The aid community should focus on what it can do well: working closely with communities to target small-scale, modest improvements that can be implemented in conflict zones. If accompanied by a gradual improvement in the quality of governance, current aid recipients can aspire to a long-run improvement in both security and prosperity.

Emmanuel Frot, Anders Olofsgård, Maria Perrotta, 26 October 2012

What does the Arab Spring mean for development in the region? This column looks at development aid during the political transition in East Europe in the 1990s. It argues that aid donors need to be aware of the potential pitfalls.

Anders Olofsgård, 13 October 2012

The recent focus on impact evaluation within development economics has led to increased pressure on aid agencies to provide evidence from randomised controlled trials. This column argues this reinforces a political bias towards immediately verifiable and media-packaged results at the expense of more long-term and complex processes such as institutional development.

Rohini Somanathan, Stefan Dercon, Nzinga Broussard, 27 February 2012

Food aid can prevent starvation – but only if the neediest actually receive it. CEPR DP8861 examines how food aid in Ethiopian villages can be biased away from those who need it most. Households with greater local influence or groups targeted by international agencies often receive more than they need. Knowing more about these biases, the authors conclude, can improve distribution and save lives.

Axel Dreher, Peter Nunnenkamp, Hannes Öhler, 26 November 2010

Performance-based aid provides a promising alternative to the failed traditional approach but hardly any empirical evidence exists on its effectiveness in inducing reforms. This column provides new evidence from the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s impact on corruption. It suggests performance-based aid can lead to reforms but only if uncertainty about the timeliness and amount of aid rewards is avoided.

Jose Enrique Garcilazo, Joaquim Oliveira Martins, William Tompson, 20 November 2010

The World Bank's Indermit Gill recently argued that economic growth will naturally be spatially unbalanced and that to try to spread it out – too thinly or too soon – would discourage it. This column responds by pointing out that economic concentration is neither necessary nor sufficient for growth.

Lisa Chauvet, Paul Collier, Marguerite Duponchel, 16 November 2010

The end of war is the beginning of a new set of challenges for aid workers. This column asks whether this is the best time to start aid projects. Examining project-level data from the World Bank, it finds that post-conflict aid is more effective, though this is not true for all projects and the advantage erodes over time.

Rick van der Ploeg, Anthony Venables, 01 November 2010

Dutch disease symptoms often plague economies that experience surges in foreign exchange due to natural resource or aid income. Discussion Paper 8086 analyses how an economy's capacity for absorbing capital determines the incidence and extent of Dutch disease.

Giorgia Giovannetti, 05 November 2009

The crisis is putting downward pressure on development assistance. This column, which presents the 2009 European Report on Development, says that now is precisely the time that EU support to fragile states is most crucial, so that such countries can respond to the crisis without abandoning necessary long-term reforms and improvements.

Esther Duflo, 25 May 2008

The Burmese victims of Cyclone Nargis are tragically neglected by their terrible government and also suffering from insufficient international attention. We might help them by aiding private organisations already on the ground in Myanmar.

Axel Dreher, Dirk-Jan Koch, Peter Nunnenkamp, Rainer Thiele, 20 May 2008

How do NGOs spend their development assistance? This column discusses research showing that NGO aid is no better targeted to the neediest countries than state aid agencies either by choosing needier countries, or by entering un-chartered waters and trying to excel where state aid is most likely to fail.

Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann, Thierry Verdier, 01 November 2007

‘Aid for trade’ is not the miracle solution for development and globalisation. Economists and policymakers must scrutinise the specific design of each measure, assess its potential impact on the terms-of-trade and consider the specific donor/recipient pair.

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