Impact of Macroeconomic Fluctuations on International Development Cooperation Policies: Paradoxes of Measurement

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-1-30-40

V. Bartenev, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation (

Acknowledgements. The research was supported by the Russian Foundation for Humanities, project 15-07-00061.

Abstract. The "age of austerity", which followed the global financial and economic crisis of 2008–2009 and the Eurozone debt crisis, has substantially increased a scholarly interest in domestic determinants of international development cooperation policies, and especially in the impact of macroeconomic fluctuations – changes in GDP per capita, output gap, unemployment rates, budget deficit levels, etc. – on aid efforts. Numerous rigorous studies have followed one another, and a whole new strand of literature has come into being. Almost all distinguished scholars run complex multivariate regressions, using trustworthy OECD data and econometric techniques, including the most advanced ones, but their findings appear extremely contradictory and even puzzling. This paper provides an in-depth survey of this novel strand of literature, which yet remains totally unknown to the Russian development community. It comes to a conclusion that this heterogeneity of results can be partially explained by apparent differences in data (samples of donors, time spans, and dependent variables – disbursements vs. commitments, gross ODA vs. net ODA), and also by the fact that none of studies (even the most recent ones) examine the "age of austerity" and its impact on the aid flows. Paradoxically unconvincing results hint at an apparent flaw in general methodological approaches failing to account for an inherent interdependence between external and internal factors of donor behavior, on one hand, and socio-political/economic variables, on the other hand. Another deficiency seems to be the scholars’ exclusive focus on aid efforts and their unwillingness to examine the impact of macroeconomic fluctuations not only on donor generosity, but also on the aid management and trends in allocation of aid across different regions, sectors, types, modalities and channels as well. This opens up a distinctive path for future research based on comparative in-depth studies of various country cases, using predominantly qualitative methods.

Keywords: international development cooperation, development assistance, foreign aid, budget austerity, development studies, donor countries, aid effort, aid allocation, international political economy

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For citation:
Bartenev V. Impact of Macroeconomic Fluctuations on International Development Cooperation Policies: Paradoxes of Measurement . World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, no. 1, pp. 30-40.

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