Working Paper
Aid Effort and its Determinants

The paper empirically explores the factors that could have accounted for the generally declining aid effort (defined as the generosity ratio, or the share of GDP given as aid) of bilateral donors over the last three decades. Annual panel data over 1970-2000 period for the 22 DAC members are used in a series of regressions. The findings suggest the existence of progressivity of aid in relation to donor income. There is also evidence of the economies of scale, in the sense that the share of aid in income decreases with growth in the size of donor country population. Domestic pro-poor tendency also appears to enhance donor generosity, and a positive ‘peer pressure’ effect is also observed. In addition, the extent of military adventurism of the donor is observed to have enhanced aid effort, just as also the size of government. But no discernible effect is detected for fiscal balance. On the political front, a greater number of checks and balances in the political system as well as the existence of polarization and fractionalization within the government are found to have enhanced aid effort while fractionalization within the opposition has the opposite effect. On the other hand, no discernible and consistent effect of ideological orientation of government is detected. Finally, the movement in the aid effort over time is found to differ between the G7 and non-G7 donors.