Through The Looking Glass, And What OLS Found There: On Growth, Foreign Aid, And Reverse Causality
Source: Center for Global Development
The cross-country literature on foreign aid effectiveness has relied on the use of instruments to distinguish causality from mere correlation. This paper uses simple non-instrumental techniques in the spirit of Granger to demonstrate that the main aid-growth connection is a negative causal relationship from growth to aid - aid, that is, as a fraction of recipient GDP. Coarsely, when GDP goes up, aid/GDP goes down. The endogeneity of aid, long-suspected, is real. Less understood is that adding certain common controls to regressions puts this relationship through the looking-glass, flipping both its sign and apparent direction: aid seems to cause growth. Ideally, instrumentation expunges the endogeneity shown here.