Public Choice

, Volume 134, Issue 3, pp 463–488

Does foreign aid distort incentives and hurt growth? Theory and evidence from 75 aid-recipient countries

Authors

    • Athens University of Economics and Business
  • Sarantis Kalyvitis
    • Athens University of Economics and Business
  • Apostolis Philippopoulos
    • Athens University of Economics and Business
    • University of Glasgow
    • CESifo
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11127-007-9239-9

Cite this article as:
Economides, G., Kalyvitis, S. & Philippopoulos, A. Public Choice (2008) 134: 463. doi:10.1007/s11127-007-9239-9

Abstract

Foreign aid transfers can distort individual incentives, and hence hurt growth, by encouraging rent seeking as opposed to productive activities. We construct a model of a growing small open economy that distinguishes two effects from foreign transfers: (i) a direct positive effect, as higher transfers allow the financing of infrastructure; (ii) an indirect negative effect, as higher transfers induce rent-seeking competition by self-interested individuals. In this framework, the growth impact of aid is examined jointly with the determination of rent-seeking behavior. We test the main predictions of the model for a cross-section of 75 aid-recipient countries. There is evidence that aid has a direct positive effect on growth, which is however significantly mitigated by the adverse indirect effects of associated rent-seeking activities. This is especially the case in recipient countries with relatively large public sectors.

Keywords

Foreign aidIncentivesGrowth

JEL

F35D7D9H2
Download to read the full article text

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007