In this paper we argue that if the cross-country heterogeneity in productivity is more important than the heterogeneity in government quality, it can be optimal to give more foreign aid to more corrupt countries. We build a multi-country model of optimal aid in which we disentangle the correlation between aid and equilibrium corruption into two components: the ﬁrst one reﬂects variations in the quality of institutions and the second encompasses variations in productivity levels. The data suggest that both components of the correlation are signiﬁcant, however the effect of variations in productivity levels is stronger. This implies that most corrupt countries, since they are also the poorest, receive higher amounts of foreign aid.corruption, aid, government spending, institutions
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