Although discussion of international public goods (IPGs) and the need to finance them is of a fairly recent vintage, donors have been granting aid, or official development assistance (ODA), in substantial quantities for many decades, and have always allocated some of this aid to financing public goods. IPGs have not suddenly appeared, International agricultural research and research into disease eradication, for example, have a long history and both have been financially supported by aid from donors.
This chapter which is based on more detailed results reported in Morrissey, te velde and Hewitt (2001, available from authors on request) asks two questions. First, how much aid has been allocated to finance what would now be classified as public goods, especially IPGs? Second, has the increasing priominence of IPGs (for example, as new diseases such as AIDS emerge or as countries percieve global warming as a problem) increased the share of aid allocated to public goods, and has total aid spending been affected? This chapter addresses these questions by examining a breakdown of aid spending by type of public good, by secotr, and donor agency.