AidData's Research Brief Series is designed to make scholarly research on aid allocation and aid effectiveness more accessible to policymakers, development practitioners, journalists, think tanks, and the general public. Each Brief is contributed by an AidData-affiliated researcher and draws on a more extensive journal article or working paper.
Do Foreign Aid Shocks Cause Violent Armed Conflict?
Authors: Richard A. Nielsen, Michael G. Findley, Zachary S. Davis, Tara Candland, and Daniel L. Nielson
In this study, we resolve part of the confusion over how foreign aid affects armed conflict. Our results suggest that aid can affect the likelihood of violent armed conflict by influencing a state's ability to credibly commit to an agreement that averts war at present and into the future. Using AidData's comprehensive dataset of bilateral and multilateral aid from 1981 to 2005, we evaluate the effects of foreign aid on violent armed conflict. In addition to rare-event logit analysis, we employ matching methods to account for the possibility that aid donors anticipate conflict. The results show that negative aid shocks significantly increase the probability of armed conflict onset. (Photo provided by The World Bank)
A Sector-by-Sector Analysis of Aid's Impact on Transnational Terrorism
Authors: Joseph Young and Michael G. Findley
In this study, we examine whether foreign aid decreases terrorism. We analyze whether aid targeted at specific sectors, such as education, is more effective than others. We use the most comprehensive databases on foreign aid and transnational terrorism, AidData and ITERATE, rather than the relatively small samples used in most previous studies, and provide a series of statistical tests. Our results suggest that foreign aid decreases terrorism especially when targeted towards sectors such as education, health, civil society, and conflict prevention. These results indicate that foreign aid can be an effective instrument in fighting terrorism, if targeted in the right ways. (Photo provided by U.S. Army photo/Spc. Lorenzo Ware/Released)
Arab Aid Allocation in the Oil Era
Author: Debra Shushan and Chris Marcoux
Relatively little is known about Arab aid allocation. We use AidData to document the trends in reported donations from specific bilateral donors and multilateral agencies. Arab bilateral donors have given less generously over time, with aid levels remaining relatively stable despite skyrocketing national wealth. We explore reasons for this decline, including that Arab donors have: shifted giving from bilateral to multilateral channels, given less as DAC donors have given more, and increased domestic spending (at the expense of foreign aid) with a view to safeguarding regime security. In addition, we look at the sectoral allocations of Arab bilateral and multilateral organizations, and compare the aid practices of Arab donors to their DAC counterparts. Finally, we argue that tracking aid commitments may not be a reliable approach if one is interested in studying Arab aid allocation patterns. (Photo provided by Odd Andersen/AP)
Geo-Referencing Aid and The Study of Violent Armed Conflict
Authors: Michael G. Findley, Josh Powell, Daniel Strandow, and Jeff Tanner
Most empirical analyses use data that are aggregated to the country-year level, thereby losing project-speciﬁc information. In this study, we introduce new data on the geographic location of aid projects in African countries between 1989 and 2008. We discuss why geographically disaggregated foreign aid and armed conﬂict data are needed to address the theoretical mechanisms in the aid-conﬂict literature. We then map the disaggregated aid and conﬂict data in Sierra Leone, Angola, and Mozambique as speciﬁc examples of how these data could help disentangle competing causal mechanisms linking aid to conﬂict onset and dynamics. The research provides an important new perspective on the connections between aid and conﬂict. (Photo provided by hdptcar from Bangui, Central African Republic )
Does Health Aid Reduce Mortality?
Author: Sven Wilson
Successful public health measures are being implemented in many places around the globe and country-level mortality has fallen significantly in all but a few countries. This study attempts to test the aggregate relationship between development assistance for health (DAH) and a recipient country’s mortality trajectory. Using a new data source containing DAH on 96 high mortality countries, my empirical analysis suggests no effect of DAH on mortality at the country level. Other types of aid, including water development, also have no effect. Economic growth, on the other hand, has a strong negative effect on mortality. These findings confirm and build upon the work of others and are shown to be robust to a variety of sensitivity analyses and alternative model specifications and estimation methods. (Photo provided by IRWIN FEDRIANSYAH/AP)
When Does Education Aid Boost Enrollment Rates?
Authors: Zachary Christiansen, Dustin Homer, and Daniel Nielson
We use AidData to test the effectiveness of primary education aid in boosting school enrollment rates. We evaluate the hypothesis that bilateral donors ought to have greater freedom to condition aid on recipient governance quality than multilateral donors, which are often bound by institutional rules to provide aid more impartially. AidData’s extensive coverage of multilateral aid enables this analysis for up to 100 low-income and lower-middle-income countries from 1995 to 2008. Latent growth regression analysis suggests that bilateral donors condition their primary education aid on recipient control of corruption more than multilateral donors do, and that bilateral aid is significantly related to improved enrollment rates. (Photo provided by Roman Woronowycz/ USAID)