The Cyclicality of Government Foreign-Aid Expenditure: Voter Awareness in “Good” Times and in “Bad”

A. Abbott, Philip Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


While it has been argued that the cyclicality of government spending likely depends on the intensities of political pressure to increase expenditure, in economic upturns and downturns, it is important to explore the determinants of changes in the strengths of those pressures. This paper is the first (to our knowledge) to focus on the relevance of systematic changes in voter awareness of government spending. Predictions of the impact of changes in awareness are tested with reference to 23 OECD donor countries’ foreign aid expenditures over the 1999–2015 period. The evidence offers insights into the discretion governments exercise when “fiscal illusion” increases and into the policy implications of systematic changes in voter awareness (in “good” times and in “bad”).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalPublic Choice
Early online date16 Dec 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Dec 2019

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