The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The positive impact of foreign aid is limited by the erratic behavior of aid flows. The introduction in 1999 of various initiatives anchored in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) which were aimed at strengthening coordination among donors, improving the design of financial support programs, and improving domestic records of policy implementation should have led to an improvement in the time series properties of aid flows. We find no evidence of any fundamental changes in the way aid has been delivered in the past five years. If anything, aid volatility has worsened somewhat and the information value of long-term lending commitments has declined. We take these results to mean that the main causes of the volatility and unpredictability of aid, and the broader issue of macroeconomic instability in low-income countries, have not been addressed in a systematic manner by the donor community.