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The case for aid in fiscally constrained times : morals, ethics and economics

Sumner, A. and Tribe, M. (2011) The case for aid in fiscally constrained times : morals, ethics and economics. Journal of International Development, 23 (6). pp. 782-801.

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Aid [Official Development Assistance (ODA)] is under pressure as fiscal constraints mount in OECD countries following the 2008–2009 global financial and economic crisis. The arguments in favour of ODA commitments from donor countries have been articulated by several writers over the years but have consistently been challenged. This paper briefly and critically assesses the main arguments in favour of, and against, continuing substantial international aid programmes and makes a distinction between arguments relating to the short-term and to the long-term. The long-term is considered in the context of the cases for and against sustained ODA programmes. The short-term is discussed in the context of potential adjustments in ODA volumes because of economic decline, reduced tax revenue and public expenditure cuts in OECD countries.