The First Millennium Development Goal (MDG#1) is to cut the fraction of global population living on less than one dollar per day in half, by 2015. Foreign aid financed investments may contribute to the attainment of this goal. But how much can aid be reasonably expected to accomplish? A widespread calibration approach to answering this question is to employ the so-called development planning technique, which has the Harrod-Domar growth model at its base. Two particularly problematic assumptions in this sort of analysis are the absence of diminishing returns to capital input and an infinite speed of adjustment to steady state after a shock to the economy. We remove both of these assumptions by employing a Solow model as an organizing framework for an otherwise similar analysis. We find that in order to successfully meet the MDG#1 in the context of the currently proposed aid flows, these flows will have to be accompanied by either an acceleration in the underlying productivity growth rate or a major boost to domestic savings and investment in sub-Saharan Africa. In the absence of such changes in the economic environment, the MDG#1 is unlikely to be reached.
Mr. Erwin H Tiongson, Mr. Benedict J. Clements, and Mr. Sanjeev Gupta
Global food aid is considered a critical consumption smoothing mechanism in many countries. However, its record of stabilizing consumption has been mixed. This paper examines the cyclical properties of food aid with respect to food availability in recipient countries, with a view to assessing its impact on consumption in some 150 developing countries and transition economies, covering 1970 to 2000. The results show that global food aid has been allocated to countries most in need. Food aid has also been countercyclical within countries with the greatest need. However, for most countries, food aid is not countercyclical. The amount of food aid provided is also insufficient to mitigate contemporaneous shortfalls in consumption. The results are robust to various specifications and filtering techniques and have important implications for macroeconomic and fiscal management.