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.
This paper examines the macroeconomic usage of aid using panel data for a broad sample of aid-recipients. By definition an increase in aid must go toward a reduction in the current account balance (absorbed aid), an increase in capital outflows, or reserve accumulation. It is found that short-run absorption is typically very low, with much aid exiting through the capital account. Moreover, aid spending, defined in terms of the increase in government fiscal expenditures as a result of aid, is significantly greater than aid absorption, implying that aid systematically leads to an injection of domestic liquidity in recipient economies. The evidence here may help illuminate the rather weak link between aid and growth found in the literature. It reinforces the case for greater coordination between fiscal and monetary authorities in response to aid inflows.