The question of foreign aid's impact on economic growth and development is highly controversial and excites polarised opinions. Optimistic views of aid are exemplified by those of Jeffrey Sachs, who calls for a doubling of worldwide aid flows as a moral obligation of rich countries that will send 'forth mighty currents of hope' and lead to 'the end of poverty'. In contrast, William Easterly is a vocal sceptic, highlighting aid's apparent historic inability to buy growth. And today, in the midst of a serious global economic crisis, where aid is arguably more needed than ever, the attention of both the aid community and decision-makers is on Dambisa Moyo's 'Dead Aid', which argues for a complete cessation of aid flows to Africa. In this seminar Professor Tarp will provide a balanced overview of the academic literature that has evaluated the effectiveness of aid across countries. Focus will be on the aggregate impact of aid; that is, its effect on country-wide indicators, putting both recent and past literature and insights in perspective.
Finn Tarp is Director of UN University WIDER, Helsinki, Finland. Finn Tarp also holds the Chair of Professor of Development Economics at the Department of Economics at the University of Copenhagen, where he completed his MSc and PhD in Economics. Professor Tarp has some 30 years of experience in academic and applied development economics research and teaching. His field experience covers numerous countries across Africa and the developing world more generally, including longer term assignments in Swaziland (two years), Mozambique (eight years) and Vietnam (three years). He is a leading international expert on issues of development strategy and foreign aid, with an interest in poverty, income distribution and growth, micro- and macroeconomic policy and modeling, agricultural sector policy and planning, household and enterprise development, and economic adjustment and reform. In addition to his university positions, Finn Tarp has held senior posts and advisory positions within government and with donor organizations, and he is member of a large number of international committees and advisory bodies. They include the European Union Development Network (EUDN) and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).