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On the channel and type of international disaster aid


  • Raschky, Paul A.
  • Schwindt, Manijeh


Research suggests that a donor country’s decision to provide post-disaster assistance is not only driven by the severity of a disaster and the resulting humanitarian needs in the recipient country, but also by strategic considerations. The authors argue that the identification of the determinants of the size of disaster assistance is a first step in the analysis of the donor’s behavior. Since all aid is not motivated by the same reasons, the evaluation of the donor country’s behavior requires a second step accounting for the type and the channel of aid provided. Using data on international disaster assistance between 2000 and 2007, the analysis examines both the donor countries'decision on the channel (bilateral versus multilateral) and the type of disaster relief (cash versus in-kind). The empirical results suggest that international disaster relief is not as much driven by the needs of the recipient country, but also by strategic interests (for example, oil or trade relationships) of the donor country. Bilateral and cash transfers are used as a vehicle to signal strategic interests, while multilateral and in-kind transfers are chosen to control for misuse in badly governed recipient countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Raschky, Paul A. & Schwindt, Manijeh, 2009. "On the channel and type of international disaster aid," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4953, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4953

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Fink, Guenther & Redaelli, Silvia, 2009. "Determinants of international emergency aid - humanitarian need only ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4839, The World Bank.
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    5. Svensson, Jakob, 2000. "When is foreign aid policy credible? Aid dependence and conditionality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 61-84, February.
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    8. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597, March.
    9. Janet Currie & Firouz Gahvari, 2008. "Transfers in Cash and In-Kind: Theory Meets the Data," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 333-383, June.
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    11. Berthelemy, Jean-Claude & Tichit, Ariane, 2004. "Bilateral donors' aid allocation decisions--a three-dimensional panel analysis," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 253-274.
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    13. Ilyana Kuziemko & Eric Werker, 2006. "How Much Is a Seat on the Security Council Worth? Foreign Aid and Bribery at the United Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 905-930, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nunnenkamp, Peter & Öhler, Hannes, 2011. "Aid Allocation through Various Official and Private Channels: Need, Merit, and Self-Interest as Motives of German Donors," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 308-323, March.
    2. Ulph, David & Selvaretnam, Geethanjali & Thampanishvong, Kannika, 2012. "Saving and Re-building Lives: an Analysis of the Determinants of Disaster Relief," SIRE Discussion Papers 2012-47, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    3. Oscar Becerra & Eduardo Cavallo & Ilan Noy, 2010. "In the Aftermath of Large Natural Disasters, what happens to foreign aid?," Working Papers 201018, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Hazard Risk Management; Natural Disasters; Gender and Health; Development Economics&Aid Effectiveness; Governance Indicators;

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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