Throwing Foreign Aid at HIV/Aids in Developing Countries: Missing the Target?

CEGE Discussion Paper No. 111

33 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2010 Last revised: 4 Jul 2012

See all articles by Peter Nunnenkamp

Peter Nunnenkamp

University of Kiel

Hannes Öhler

University of Goettingen (Gottingen)

Date Written: August 18, 2010


We assess empirically whether foreign official development assistance (ODA) has been effective in alleviating HIV/AIDS epidemics, which figures prominently among the Millennium Development Goals. We employ a difference-in-difference-in-differences approach to identify the treatment effect of ODA specifically meant to fight sexually transmitted diseases on HIV/AIDS-related outcome variables. We do not find that ODA has prevented new infections to an extent that would have reduced the number of people living with HIV. By contrast, ODA has contributed effectively to the medical care of infected people. However, conclusive evidence on significant treatment effects on AIDS-related deaths only exists for the major bilateral source of ODA, the United States. In particular, targeted US assistance programs appear to be more effective than the activities of multilateral organizations.

Keywords: HIV prevalence, AIDS-related deaths, official development assistance, aid effectiveness, major donors, difference-in-difference-in-differences

JEL Classification: F35, I19

Suggested Citation

Nunnenkamp, Peter and Öhler, Hannes, Throwing Foreign Aid at HIV/Aids in Developing Countries: Missing the Target? (August 18, 2010). CEGE Discussion Paper No. 111. Available at SSRN: or

Peter Nunnenkamp (Contact Author)

University of Kiel ( email )

D-24100 Kiel

Hannes Öhler

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073

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