Cultural values and public policy: The case of international development aid
This paper investigates whether the quantity and character of aggregate expenditures on foreign aid by donor governments are related to the cultural values held by the people of the donor countries. In particular, we study whether any association exists between three measures of donors' foreign aid expenditures and two dimensions of culture. We find that the shares of national income governments spend on aid, the proportion of total aid provided in the form of grants, and the proportion of aid directed to humanitarian relief are all related in statistically significant and quantitatively important ways to the location of the cultural values of people in the donor countries on two continua, one from "traditional" to "rational" beliefs about social organization and authority, and the other from "survival" to "self-expression" as the focus of individual aspirations. These results contribute to our understanding of the political economy of aid, and to a growing literature on how culture shapes economic policies, institutions, and performance.
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