Papers selected for workshop on tracking international aid from emerging economies

Heidelberg University and AidData are pleased to announce the selection of twelve proposals for papers to be presented at a workshop on tracking international aid from emerging economies to be held this September in Heidelberg, Germany.

New land emerges from the sea at the US$1.4 billion Chinese-backed Port City project near Sri Lanka’s main port, part of Beijing's ambitious global expansion of investment and aid. Photo by Dhammika Heenpella, licensed under (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Following a call for proposals in April, 81 diverse proposals were submitted by over 120 authors, and the submissions were reviewed by a committee of five experts at Heidelberg University. From this pool, twelve teams of 27 authors were selected to present their proposals at the upcoming workshop.

The selected participants have received exclusive pre-publication access to AidData’s China Global Dataset, which contains project-level information on Chinese official development finance activity to Africa, Asia, and Latin America between 2000-2014. Draft papers will be presented at the workshop and will be publicly available on the conference website. A select few papers will be invited to publish their submissions as AidData Working Papers.

Interested scholars were additionally invited to submit a video presentation of their research, and these videos will be made publicly available on the conference website.

How is international development finance changing?

Authors behind selected proposals have also received similar pre-publication access to Heidelberg University’s Official Indian Aid Worldwide Dataset and the New Donors Database, which contain georeferenced project-level information on Indian development cooperation and key milestones on nations’ recipient-to-donor transitions, respectively. Furthermore, all author teams will have their travel and accommodation costs for the workshop covered by its sponsors: Heidelberg University, AidData, and the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The workshop — formally titled “Tracking International Aid and Investment from Developing and Emerging Economies” — will be held at Heidelberg University in Germany from September 22-23, 2017. Three distinguished scholars will serve as keynote speakers and share their thoughts: David Dollar of the Brookings Institution, Helen Milner of Princeton University, and Nancy Qian of Northwestern University.

The workshop’s overarching focus is the changing environment of international development finance. Papers selected for the workshop cut across topics and disciplines, from an evaluation of the impact of Chinese aid’s policy of noninterference in domestic affairs to how to better account for uncertainty in development aid data.

A preview of selected proposals

Political Turnover and Chinese Development Cooperation

Mengfan Cheng & Matthew DiLorenzo

Does China respond to factors that may cause recipient nations to shift their political allegiance towards or away from Western donors? Using the AidData China Global Dataset and the Change in Source of Leader Support (CHISOLS) dataset, this paper sets out to evaluate the relationship between Chinese finance and leadership turnover in non-OECD nations.

Better Policies from Policy-selective Aid? The Role of China’s Aid

Kurt Annen & Steve Knack

This paper empirically tests a prediction made by a simple game theoretic model that policy- and poverty-selective aid by donor nations leads to a contest for aid among recipient nations in terms of policies, which in turn increases policy levels in recipient countries in equilibrium. Data for this study comes from the AidData China Global Dataset and the “Listening to Leaders” survey, as well as Heidelberg University’s Indian Aid dataset.

Tracing the Legacy: China’s Historical Aid and Contemporary Investment in Africa

Yu Zheng

Chinese investors have been found not to conform to the established notion that investors are attracted to countries where institutional arrangements or policy tools are effective in making credible commitment and mitigating political risk. This paper investigates the association between historical Chinese aid and contemporary investment in Africa.

Foreign Aid and Chinese Outbound Direct Investment in Oil and Gas

Tiyi Feng & Quan Li

Does Chinese foreign aid influence the likelihood of Chinese oil and gas investments in a host country? To answer this question, project-level data for Chinese foreign aid is linked to Feng and Li’s newly-collected investment deal data for four types of Chinese firms and analyzed to find the success of oil and gas investment deals of said firms with host countries.

Competing for Aid Recipients? Donor Responses to Chinese Development Finance

Andreas Fuchs, Soo Yeon Kim, Austin M. Strange, & Michael J. Tierney

How do Chinese development finance commitments in Asian and African countries affect the subsequent aid allocation behavior of established donors? Findings indicate that the influence of Chinese development finance on DAC aid exists but is heterogeneous across donors, in terms of both who reacts and at what speed.

The Effects of Chinese Aid on Household’s Wellbeing: Evidence from Sub-Saharan African Countries

Bruno Martorano, Laura Metzger, & Marco Sanfilippo

Using data from AidData’s China Global Dataset and micro-data from household consumption surveys and the Rural Income Generating Activities (RIGA) income surveys, this proposal aims to provide a more comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of Chinese aid, exploring whether the surge of Chinese aid in most Sub-Saharan African countries over the last decade has been accompanied by changes in indicators of individuals’ well-being.

Fuel for the Fire: Chinese, Indian, OECD Aid, Investment and Local Governance

Samuel Brazys, Ann-Sofie Isaksson, Andreas Kotsadam, & Krishna Vadlamannati

This proposal seeks to compare the influence of commercial and noncommercial activities from two important emerging economies, India and China, with similar activities of OECD DAC donors countries on local governance in the developing world. Data from AidData’s China Global Dataset and Heidelberg University’s Official Indian Aid Worldwide Dataset are used with similarly geo-referenced foreign direct investment (FDI) data sourced from the Financial Times fDi Intelligence “fDi Markets” database.

Undermining Conditionality: Effect of Chinese Development Assistance on Compliance with Western Aid Conditionality

Mitchell Watkins

This paper investigates the effect of Chinese development assistance on recipient country compliance with Western aid conditionality, specifically World Bank conditionality, and whether the presence of a significant non-Western donor type weakens the incentives of recipient countries to comply with conditionality attached to Western aid.

Financial Silk Road to Africa

Jacopo Ponticelli & Andrea Presbitero

Loan-level data is matched with trade flows at sector and destination-country level to study the relationship between Chinese loans and Chinese exports to African countries. To paint a broader picture of the effects of Chinese lending to Africa, the spillover effects on the local economy through input-output linkages and sub-national measures of economic activity (i.e. nighttime lights) and migration flows are also investigated.

Chinese Aid and Incumbency Advantage: Evidence from Developing Democracies

Helen Milner & Weiyi Shi

Does aid from China shape electoral competition in developing democracies? Postulating that Chinese aid gives rise to greater incumbency advantage compared to OECD aid, data from AidData’s China Global Dataset and the georeferenced Chinese Official Finance to Africa and World Bank Datasets are used to investigate whether China’s explicit policy of non-interference still shapes political outcomes in recipient countries.

What We Don’t Know: Incorporating Data Uncertainty into Aid Allocation Models

Christopher Kilby

Accounting for censored data has several important implications. The proposed paper will explore a variety of methods to account for data uncertainty and apply them in several settings of interest to AidData users.

Aid and Conflict at the Local Level - The Role of Traditional and Emerging Donors

Kai Gehring, Lennart Kaplan, & Melvin Wong

This proposal uses the availability of geocoded data at a very local level to investigate whether development aid also fuels conflict as an unintended side effect. Specifically, data from one of the most important traditional donors — the World Bank — are compared those of two of the largest emerging donors — China and India — for a broad sample of recipient countries around the globe.

Additional papers to be presented

Aid Donors

Andreas Fuchs & Angelika Müller

Today almost half of the world’s states provide bilateral development assistance to developing countries, including countries of all continents, income groups and various political regime types. Using a novel database on key milestones in the transition from becoming an aid donor, this paper analyzes why countries start to provide development aid.

A New Scramble for Africa? An Analysis of Chinese and Indian Development Projects

Gerda Asmus, Vera Z. Eichenauer, Andreas Fuchs, & Brad Parks

Foreign aid and other forms of state financing for overseas activities from China and India are on the rise. With new data sets on the precise physical locations of officially-financed Indian and Chinese development projects and the spatial distribution of natural resources and commercial opportunities, the proposed paper analyzes competition between these two rising powers in Africa from 2006 to 2012 — both across and within recipient countries.

Chinese Aid and Economic Growth: Evidence from Global Cross-National Data

Axel Dreher, Andreas Fuchs, Brad Parks, Austin Strange, & Michael Tierney

The proposed paper investigates whether and to what extent Chinese aid affects economic growth in recipient countries. To control for reverse causation, the employed instrumental variable relies on variation over time resulting from Chinese steel production, which increases the supply of Chinese foreign aid. Variation across recipient countries results from each country's historical probability to receive Chinese aid. The paper then compares the effectiveness of Chinese aid with those of two United States aid agencies — USAID and the MCC — to draw conclusions on how to reform aid provision.

Soren Patterson is the Communications Associate for AidData. Caroyln Iwicki is a research assistant from the William & Mary Program in Public Policy working with AidData’s Partnerships and Communications Team. She focuses on bridging the gap between the scientific and policy communities, particularly those involved with marine policy.