Aid, Pro-Poor Expenditure and Welfare


The objective is to test the hypothesis that aid can improve the welfare of the poor. Part of this effect is direct, if aid is targeted on the poor, and part is indirect, via the transmission channel of aid-financed public spending on social services - sanitation, education and health. This indirect part is represented in an index of pro-poor public expenditures (PPE). As comparative data on poverty levels are scarce, two indicators of the welfare of the poor are used, namely infant mortality and the Human Development Index (HDI). A residual generated regressor is used to obtain a coefficient on the aid variable that includes the indirect effects through public expenditure allocation induced by aid. Estimation is based on a pooled panel of 39 countries over the period 1980 to 1998. Results in support of our hypothesis that 'pro-poor' public expenditure is associated with increased levels of welfare, and evidence is found that aid is associated with improved values of the welfare indicators because aid finances pro-poor spending. In this way, aid potentially benefits the poor.


Aid, Pro-Poor Expenditure and Welfare. Final Report for Project R7617: The Scope for Increasing the Poverty Leverage of Aid. Appendix B: Submission to Journal of Development Studies, 24 pp.

Aid, Pro-Poor Expenditure and Welfare

Published 1 January 2003