UPDATED February 2013
In the CGD working paper An Index of Donor Performance (2005) David Roodman develops a new measure of foreign aid flow for use in the aid component of the Commitment to Development Index.
The Net Aid Transfers (NAT) variable alters two aspects of the standard Net Overseas Development Assistance (Net ODA) measure that can be problematic for aid research and donor evaluation. First, where Net ODA is a capital flow concept, analogous to Net Foreign Direct Investment, NAT is a net transfers concept. That is, Net ODA is net only of principle payments received on ODA loans, not of interest received on such loans, while NAT is net of both. This is especially relevant for Japan, which has received more than $2 billion/year in interest on ODA loans recently. Second, NAT excludes cancellation of old non-ODA loans. For example, a 2003 Paris Club agreement cancelled some $5 billion in non-ODA official debt owed by the Democratic Republic of Congo. That cancellation is ODA, but since it generated little or no additional net transfers, it is not NAT. As a result, the DRC received $5.4 billion in ODA in 2003 but only $400 million in NAT.
NAT is built from the same underlying DAC data as ODA. The NAT data set includes totals by donor, by recipient, and by donor and recipient, all in current and constant dollars. Figures by donor are also available in national currencies. The data tables by donor and recipient are too large to fit in a Microsoft Excel 2003 file, and so are provided as comma-delimited text files in a zip archive. (This file's "data type" field is "A" for current-dollar figures and "D" for constant-dollar.)
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