Aid, Catastrophes and the Samaritan's Dilemma
This paper discusses the impact of expected foreign aid in case of catastrophic events on the level of mitigative activities in aid-receiving countries. The theoretical model shows that the anticipation of foreign aid partly crowds out preventive collective action. The crowding-out effect can result in both a lower probability of surviving an disaster and an increase in an event's proportion. In order to test the theoretical propositions we analyse the effect of foreign aid dependence on a) ex-ante risk-management activity proxied by the death toll from 317 major earthquakes occurring worldwide between 1980 and 2002 and b) the likelihood of cholera epidemics between 1980 and 2001. Our estimates suggest that foreign aid in previous years is crowding out ex-ante risk-management activities in recipient countries. The paper concludes with propositions on the deployment of foreign aid.
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