Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Foreign Aid, External Debt and Economic Growth Nexus in Low-Income Countries: The Role of Institutional Quality

Foreign capital and institutional quality simultaneously play an important role in the development process of low-income countries. By and large developing nations fell short of funds necessary to spur the economic growth. Along with this constraint, they are facing the down fall in the quality of governance. Low earned revenues and high government expenditure increase the reliance upon the foreign capital mostly in the form of foreign aid and external debt. Just the availability of foreign funds is not sufficient to stimulate the economic growth, there is a need of good governance along with better quality of institutions that will act as a catalyst and improves the efficiency of capital, [see for instance, Agnor and Montiel (2010)]. Good governance establishes impartial, predictable and consistently enforced rules in the form of institutions and thus crucial for the sustained growth [North (1990 and 1992)]. Those countries which have good institutions show positive growth rates whenever the stock of capital increases but the countries with bad institutions, increase in capital investment may lead to negative growth rates due to rent seeking and other unproductive activities, Hall, et al. (2010). In this context, North (1992) argues that the institutions as well as the ideology shape economic performance. While taking into account the technology used, institutions affect economic performance by determining the cost of transaction and production. Formal rules, informal constraints and characteristics of enforcing those constraints together formulate the institutions. Institutions affect economic performance and the differential in performance of economies is basically influenced by the way institutions evolve. The neoclassical economic theory is of little help in investigating the sources beneath economic performance because institutions are taken for granted in their models Agnor and Montiel (2010).

Unbreen Qayyum, Adnan Haider