Journal Article

The Anarchy of Numbers: Aid, Development, and Cross-Country Empirics

David Roodman

in The World Bank Economic Review

Volume 21, issue 2, pages 255-277
Published in print June 2007 | ISSN: 0258-6770
Published online May 2007 | e-ISSN: 1564-698X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/wber/lhm004
The Anarchy of Numbers: Aid, Development, and Cross-Country Empirics

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  • International Finance
  • Development Planning and Policy
  • Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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The recent literature contains many stories of how foreign aid affects economic growth. Aid raises growth in countries with good policies, or with difficult economic environments, or outside the tropics, or on average but with diminishing returns. The diversity of the results suggests that many are fragile. Seven important aid-growth papers are tested for robustness, using 14 minimally arbitrary tests deriving mainly from differences among the studies themselves. This approach investigates the importance of potentially arbitrary specification choices while minimizing the arbitrariness in testing choices. All of the results appear fragile, especially to sample expansion.

Keywords: F35; O23; O40

Journal Article.  8509 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Finance ; Development Planning and Policy ; Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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