Debt sustainability in low-income countries: the grants versus loans debate in a world without crystal balls

When allocating their aid budget, development agencies need to decide whether to give outright grants or use concessional loans that blend a grant and credit element. Theory suggests that the degree of concessionality should be negatively correlated with debt sustainability. Several donors use the World Bank/IMF Debt Sustainability Framework to guide their aid decisions. They give loans to low-risk countries, a blend of loans and grants to medium-risk countries, and only grants to high-risk countries. The paper shows that there are problems with this approach and proposes an alternative allocation mechanism based on GDP-indexed concessional loans.

Publication infos:
[Clermont-Ferrand], Fondation pour les études et recherches sur le développement international (FERDI), 2015
Publication year:
Number of pages:
19 p.
FERDI working paper ; no. 120

 Record created 2015-02-25, last modified 2018-01-28

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