Waylaid Dialectic

September 2, 2014

Who gives? And do we put our money where our mouthes are?

Filed under: Aid — terence @ 8:53 am
Tags: , ,

What traits are associated with more donations to NGOs? Do wealthy areas have more donors? Does education play a role? What about political leanings? Perhaps voting for the left is associated with a preference for giving to NGOs born of a desire for redistribution? Perhaps, on the other hand, giving comes from a right wing desire to help without using the state? And, also, is NGO support associated with support for ODA? Do people who want their government to give also put their own money where their mouths are?

Answers (provisional answers) to all of these questions, based on Australian research I’ve conducted with colleagues, can be found in a Devpolicy blog post here, and in a working paper here.



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.

June 23, 2010

Development Neologisms: Straw NGO

Filed under: Development Neologisms — terence @ 8:54 am

Straw NGO
Pron: Socialist! yadayada Bob Geldof! splutter!
Function: insult

Rhetorical device, as opposed to an actual existing entity. Straw NGOs are patronising, ideological, over-resourced, immensely powerful and responsible for all manner of ills. This contrasts with real NGOs which, while human, and hence fallible, generally do ok on few resources and in tricky situations. For this reason Straw NGOs are popular with bloggers and critics of aid.

See for example, this comment (by someone who usually does much better) and also this comment.

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