Aid and Agency in Africa: Explaining Food Disbursements Across Ethiopian Households, 1994-2004
AbstractWe study the distribution of food aid in Ethiopia between 1994 and 2004 using data from the Ethiopian Rural Household Survey. Over this period village leaders had considerable discretion in disbursing aid subject to official guidelines and periodic monitoring. We use a principal-agent model and household panel data for approximately 940 households to understand biases in the allocation of aid. The model shows that correlations between aid and observed measures of need are not a good measure of targeting because agents have incentives to distort allocations within targeted classes. Consistent with the model, we find that the aid recipients match official criteria but disbursements are negatively correlated with determinants of need that are not easily observable by monitoring agencies, namely pre-aid consumption, self-reported power and involvement in village-level organizations. Our results suggest informal structures of power within African villages influence the extent to which food aid insulates some of the world's poorest families from agricultural shocks but also that policy guidelines do constrain permissible deviations from need-based allocations.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8861.
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
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Other versions of this item:
- Broussard, Nzinga H. & Dercon, Stefan & Somanathan, Rohini, 2014. "Aid and agency in Africa: Explaining food disbursements across Ethiopian households, 1994–2004," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 128-137.
- Nzinga H. Broussard & Stefan Dercon & Rohini Somanathan, 2012. "Aid And Agency In Africa Explaining Food Disbursements Across Ethiopian Households, 1994-2004," Working papers 208, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
- H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
- I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
- O11 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AFR-2012-03-28 (Africa)
- NEP-AGR-2012-03-28 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2012-03-28 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2012-03-28 (Development)
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