The federal government funds an array of aid programs aimed at promoting growth in less-developed countries. Funding goes to federal agencies, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development, and it also goes to international aid groups, such as the World Bank.
The federal government spends more than $30 billion annually on foreign aid. Aid spending has more than doubled in the past two decades. The Trump administration has called for substantial cuts to foreign aid spending.
Ian Vásquez has published a new study on foreign aid at DownsizingGovernment.org. He argues that despite the political enthusiasm for aid, there is little evidence that it is effective. Indeed, it is often counterproductive. There is no correlation between foreign aid and economic growth, and efforts to condition the receipt of aid on market reforms have failed. As such, Ian argues that the federal government should end its development aid programs.
However, Ian also discusses the good news on economic development. Decades of experience show a strong relationship between economic growth and market-oriented policies. Countries eager to improve living standards can do so themselves with domestic reforms, such as securing property rights, reducing arbitrary and bureaucratic regulations, and encouraging entrepreneurship and investment.
Ian’s new study on foreign aid is here.
Commentary by Chris Edwards. Originally published at Cato @ Liberty.