Descriptive and Prescriptive Analyses of Aid Allocation
Approaches, Issues and Consequences
Studies of the interrecipient allocation of aid may be categorized threefold. First, there are those that attempt to explain the observed allocation of aid. Second, there are those that seek to describe or evaluate the allocation of aid against normative criteria. Third, there are those that seek to prescribe the interrecipient allocation of aid by calculating the amounts of aid each country should receive, also based on normative criteria. This article looks at the second and third categories of studies. It commences by looking at the different approaches and a descriptive measure used, and then repeats this exercise for the prescriptive literature. It then looks at differences between the prescribed allocations of the different approaches used in the literature. These allocations are then compared with actual allocations and evaluated against various normative criteria. This reveals significant differences, both between prescribed and actual allocations and the evaluations of the different prescriptive approaches.