Foreign Aid, Public Investment, and the Informal Economy
40 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2020
Date Written: July 27, 2020
This paper uses a two-sector open economy model to examine the dynamic absorption of foreign aid in the presence of both formal and informal production. Calibrating the model to yield a long-run equilibrium consistent with sample averages for 72 aid-recipient developing countries for the period 1990-2017, we show that an increase in foreign aid impacts the sectoral composition of the recipient economy, driving resources into the informal sector, and away from the formal sector. Further, if aid is untied (say, provided for general budget support), then the expansion of the informal sector can lead to a contraction of the aggregate economy through the Dutch Disease effect. If the recipient government’s objective is to drive an economic expansion by increasing the share of formal production, then re-allocating existing aid to public investment is more effective than an increase in the aggregate level of aid.
Keywords: Foreign Aid, Official Development Assistance, Informal Sector, Real Exchange Rate, Dutch Disease, Capital Mobility, Labor Mobility, Public Investment, Infrastructure
JEL Classification: E2, E6, F2, F3, F4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation