Addressing the Food Aid Curse
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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