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Addressing the Food Aid Curse

  • Max Blouin
  • Stéphane Pallage

In this paper, we build a model of agrarian economies in which a kleptocratic government taxes farmers to maximize its life-time utility. The model is a dynamic general equilibrium model in which the subsistence of farmers requires a minimum level of consumption. We analyze the effect that a benevolent food aid agency can have in such an environment. If it expects the food aid agency to intervene, the kleptocratic government will starve its farmers, in a clear case of the Samaritan's dilemma. We show that the likelihood of man-made famines, however, can be greatly reduced if the food aid agency intervenes with probability slightly lower than one. No aid agency devoted to saving lives, however, can commit to such policy. We propose a solution to this food aid curse.

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Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0717.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0717
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  1. Boone, Peter, 1996. "Politics and the effectiveness of foreign aid," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 289-329, February.
  2. William Easterly, 2003. "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 23-48, Summer.
  3. Dollar, David & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Scholarly Articles 4553020, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Karl Pedersen, 2001. "The Samaritan's Dilemma and the Effectiveness of Development Aid," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(5), pages 693-703, November.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson & Thierry Verdier, 2004. "Alfred Marshall Lecture: Kleptocracy and Divide-and-Rule: A Model of Personal Rule," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 162-192, 04/05.
  6. Hagen, Rune Jansen, 2006. "Samaritan agents? On the strategic delegation of aid policy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 249-263, February.
  7. Max Blouin & Stéphane Pallage, 2007. "Humanitarian Relief and Civil Conflict," Cahiers de recherche 0706, CIRPEE.
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