The Economist — Misplaced charity
In "Misplaced charity", The Economist draws upon AidData's 3.0 Core Research Release to show that aid is becoming more fragmented over time and that this global trend is making it more challenging for developing countries to manage incoming flows. The findings from two recent AidData Working Papers, "Putting Money to Mouths: Rewarding and Punishing Human Rights Behaviors" and "Aid on Demand: African Leaders and the Geography of China's Foreign Assistance", are also summarized in this article. Brad Parks, AidData's Executive Director, was interviewed on background is also quoted in the story.
Chinese “aid” is a lightning rod for criticism. Policy-makers, journalists, and public intellectuals claim that Beijing uses its largesse to cement alliances with political leaders, secure access to natural resources, and create exclusive commercial opportunities for Chinese firms—all at the expense of citizens living in developing countries. We argue that much of the controversy about Chinese “aid” stems from a failure to distinguish between China's Official Development Assistance (ODA) and more commercially oriented sources and types of state financing. Using a new database on China's official financing commitments to Africa from 2000 to 2013, we find that the allocation of Chinese ODA is driven primarily by foreign policy considerations, while economic interests better explain the distribution of less concessional flows. These results highlight the need for better measures of an increasingly diverse set of non-Western financial activities.