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Foreign Aid, Incentives and Efficiency: Can Foreign Aid Lead to the Efficient Level of Investment?

Review of Development Economics

Published online on


This paper develops a two‐period model in which the recipient faces borrowing constraint and the donor is a Stackelberg follower to address two important policy questions: (i) whether foreign aid can lead to the efficient level of capital investment in the recipient country and (ii) how does the form (e.g. budgetary transfers, capital transfer) and the timing of aid affect the recipient's financial savings and capital investment. It finds that the disincentive effect of the capital transfer on the capital investment by the recipient is larger than the budgetary transfers. It makes financial savings more attractive relative to the capital investment for the recipient. In the absence of capital transfer, the multi‐period budgetary transfers not only lead to the efficient level of capital investment by the recipient, but also achieve the same allocation as under commitment. The capital transfer can lead to the efficient level of capital investment, but in this case, it completely crowds out the recipient's own capital investment.