Aid for trade and export performance of recipient countries: the moderating role of institutions

Aboushady, Nora / Georges Harb / Chahir Zaki
External Publications (2024)

in: The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, first published 01.05.2024


Using bilateral trade and aid for trade (AfT) data for a sample of 155 countries over the period 2002-2019, this paper uses a gravity analysis to assess whether bilateral aggregate AfT and various AfT categories have stimulated exports of AfT-recipient countries to donors, and to examine if the institutional distance between recipients and donor countries affected the efficacy of AfT in promoting the former's bilateral exports. The results suggest that AfT flows tend to foster exports of recipients, both at the extensive margin and intensive margin. However, the trade-stimulating effect of AfT for trade policy and regulation is more pronounced than that of other AfT flows. Finally, institutional disparities between trading partners dampen the effectiveness of AfT in promoting exports at both margins of trade; and certain regions and income-based groups have managed to benefit more than others from AfT. Increasing the amount of disbursed aid flows is likely to speed-up the insertion of developing countries into world markets; strengthening governance in AfT-beneficiary countries and closing their institutional gap with donors would enhance the effect of AfT on their exports; and tying AfT flows to governance-related reforms in recipients can be an option to consider by donors.

About the author


Further experts

Berger, Axel

Political Science 

Brandi, Clara

Economy and Political Science 

Gitt, Florian


Kornher, Lukas


Vogel, Tim