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.
Era Dabla-Norris, Camelia Minoiu, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
We examine the cyclical properties of development aid using bilateral data for 22 donors and over 100 recipients during 1970?2005. We find that bilateral aid flows are on average procyclical with respect to business cycles in donor and recipient countries. However, they become countercyclical when recipient countries face large adverse shocks to the terms-of-trade or growth collapses-thus playing an important cushioning role. Aid outlays contract sharply during severe donor economic downturns; this effect is magnified by higher public debt levels. Additionally, bilateral aid flows are higher in the presence of IMF programs and are more countercyclical for recipient countries with stronger institutions.