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Does aid for trade diversify the export structure of recipient countries?

Yu Ri Kim

The World Economy, 2019, vol. 42, issue 9, 2684-2722

Abstract: The importance of aid for trade as a tool for facilitating trade, economic growth and social development has received attention since the concept was introduced in 2005. While one of the main targets of aid for trade is export diversification, reflecting the fact that the exports of many developing countries are concentrated in a small range of items, there have not been many efforts to measure the effect of aid for trade on export structure. This study, therefore, attempts to trace the relationship between aid for trade and 133 aid recipients' export structure between 1996 and 2013. Using the Herfindahl–Hirschman Index to measure the degree of export concentration, the findings suggest that total aid for trade has reduced the concentration level in the short run. In the long run, on the other hand, aid for trade has had no significant effect on export structure of recipient countries. Only aid for building productive capacity, which is one of the three categories of aid for trade, contributes to lower concentration. Yet, this change is not caused by an increase in export diversity but by the redistribution of shares of existing products of a similar sophistication level.

Date: 2019
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