Do Aid Donors Specialize and Coordinate within Recipient Countries? The case of Malawi


  • Peter Nunnenkamp,

  • Albena Sotirova,

  • Rainer Thiele

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    • Respectively, Senior Economist; Student; and Professor, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Kiellinie 66, D-24105 Kiel, Germany ( The authors are grateful to Michaela Rank for the excellent research assistance provided.


Acknowledging that aid proliferation and a lack of coordination impair aid effectiveness, donors have repeatedly promised to specialize and better coordinate their aid activities, notably in the Paris Declaration of 2005. We exploit data on the exact location of aid projects in Malawi to assess whether the country's bilateral and multilateral donors have acted accordingly at the district and sector level. We do not find compelling evidence for increased aid specialization after the Paris Declaration, and the regional division of labour among donors may even have deteriorated. Our within-country evidence thus broadly corroborates what previous studies have found at the national level of recipient countries.