Waylaid Dialectic

August 4, 2010

Need vs the Need for Photo Ops

Filed under: Aid — terence @ 5:24 pm

Via Henry Farrell, an interesting looking paper on why aid NGOs choose to work where they do:

ABSTRACT: Transnational NGOs allocate a large and increasing share of international development aid, much of it from non-governmental sources. Yet, we know not even how this private aid is distributed across recipient countries, much less what explains the allocation. This paper presents an original dataset, based on detailed financial records from most of the major US-based development NGOs, which allows us to map and analyze the allocation of private development aid. We find little support for the common, cynical claim that development NGOs prioritize their organizational self-interest when they allocate private aid. By contrast, we find strong support for the argument that recipient need is a key consideration in their aid allocation, consistent with a view of development NGOs as principled actors and constructivist theories of international relations. This finding is robust to the use of several different measures of aid recipients’ objective need and controls for numerous other possible explanations.

As Henry says:

Funding decisions on a country-level basis do not appear to be substantially influenced by media coverage (at least, by NYT coverage), but they do appear to be substantially influenced by real economic need. This directly contradicts the emerging received wisdom among the Economist reading public, and gives rise to a whole host of interesting research questions.


1 Comment

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ian Thorpe and Linda Raftree, How Matters. How Matters said: Interesting post by WaylaidDialectic re: #INGOs' allocation of private #developmentaid http://bit.ly/cIaSNR […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Need vs the Need for Photo Ops « Waylaid Dialectic -- Topsy.com — August 5, 2010 @ 6:15 am

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