The politics of effective foreign aid

Joseph Wright, Matthew Winters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


There is little consensus on whether foreign aid can reliably increase economic growth in recipient countries. We review the literature on aid allocation and provide new evidence suggesting that since 1990 aid donors reward political contestation but not political inclusiveness. Then we examine some challenges in analyzing cross-national data on the aid/growth relationship. Finally, we discuss the causal mechanisms through which foreign aid might affect growth and argue that politics can be viewed as both (a) an exogenous constraint that conditions the causal process linking aid to growth and (b) an endogenous factor that is affected by foreign aid and in turn impacts economic growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-80
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Political Science
StatePublished - Jun 15 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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