Aid, China, and Growth: Evidence from a New Global Development Finance Dataset

AidData Working Paper No. 46

65 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2017

See all articles by Axel Dreher

Axel Dreher

Heidelberg University

Andreas Fuchs

Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg; Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Bradley Parks

College of William and Mary

Austin Strange

Harvard University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Government

Michael J. Tierney

College of William and Mary

Date Written: October 2017

Abstract

This paper introduces a new dataset of official financing — including foreign aid and other forms of concessional and non-concessional state financing — from China to 138 countries between 2000 and 2014. We use these data to investigate whether and to what extent Chinese aid affects economic growth in recipient countries. To account for the endogeneity of aid, we employ an instrumental-variables strategy that relies on exogenous variation in the supply of Chinese aid over time resulting from changes in Chinese steel production. Variation across recipient countries results from a country’s probability of receiving aid. Controlling for year- and recipient-fixed effects that capture the levels of these variables, their interaction provides a powerful and excludable instrument. Our results show that Chinese official development assistance (ODA) boosts economic growth in recipient countries. For the average recipient country, we estimate that one additional Chinese ODA project produces a 0.7 percentage point increase in economic growth two years after the project is committed. We also benchmark the effectiveness of Chinese aid vis-à-vis the World Bank, the United States, and all members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Our results indicate that Chinese, U.S., and OECD-DAC ODA have positive effects on economic growth, but we find no robust evidence that World Bank aid promotes growth. We also find that, irrespective of the funding source, less concessional and more commercially-oriented types of official finance do not boost economic growth. Finally, we test the popular claim that significant financial support from China impairs the effectiveness of grants and loans from Western donors and lenders. Our results do not support this claim.

Suggested Citation

Dreher, Axel and Fuchs, Andreas and Parks, Bradley and Strange, Austin and Tierney, Michael J., Aid, China, and Growth: Evidence from a New Global Development Finance Dataset (October 2017). AidData Working Paper No. 46. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3051044 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3051044

Axel Dreher

Heidelberg University ( email )

Grabengasse 1
Heidelberg, 69117
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.axel-dreher.de

Andreas Fuchs (Contact Author)

Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg ( email )

Holstenhofweg 85
Hamburg, 22043
Germany

Kiel Institute for the World Economy ( email )

Kiellinie 66
Kiel, Schleswig-Hosltein 24105
Germany

Bradley Parks

College of William and Mary ( email )

No Address Available

Austin Strange

Harvard University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Michael J. Tierney

College of William and Mary ( email )

P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States

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