Chinese Aid and Local Corruption
Dec 2, 2016
Ann-Sofie Isaksson, Andreas Kotsadam
Isaksson, Ann-Sofie, Andreas Kotsadam. 2016. Chinese Aid and Local Corruption. AidData Working Paper #33. Williamsburg, VA: AidData at William & Mary.
Update: A revised version of this paper has been published in the Journal of Public Economics.
Considering the mounting criticisms concerning Chinese aid practices, the present paper investigates whether Chinese aid projects fuel local-level corruption in Africa. To this end, we geographically match a new geo-referenced dataset on the subnational allocation of Chinese development finance projects to Africa over the 2000-2012 period with 98,449 respondents from four Afrobarometer survey waves across 29 African countries. By comparing the corruption experiences of individuals who live near a site where a Chinese project is being implemented at the time of the interview to those of individuals living close to a site where a Chinese project will be initiated but where implementation had not yet started at the time of the interview, we control for unobservable time-invariant characteristics that may influence the selection of project sites. The empirical results consistently indicate more widespread local corruption around active Chinese project sites. The effect, which lingers after the project implementation period, is seemingly not driven by an increase in economic activity, but rather seems to signify that the Chinese presence impacts norms. Moreover, China stands out from the World Bank and other bilateral donors in this respect. In particular, whereas the results indicate that Chinese aid projects fuel local corruption but have no observable impact on local economic activity.
Geocoded China Data
AidData's Chinese Official Finance to Africa Dataset, 2000-2012, Version 1.1.1
This is a sub-nationally georeferenced dataset of Chinese official finance activities that spans 50 African countries over the 2000-2012 period. It includes 1,952 Chinese development finance projects across 3,545 physical locations.
Geocoded Afrobarometer Surveys
Geocoded Afrobarometer Data, Version 1.0
This subnationally geocoded dataset, available via request from Afrobarometer, covers Rounds One through Six of Afrobarometer's surveys in 37 African countries between 1999 and 2015. It provides hyperlocal, time-varying information about the priorities, preferences, experiences, and opinions of more than 200,000 African citizens in 28,000 localities.