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Distortions in aid allocation of United Nations flash appeals: Evidence from the 2015 Nepal earthquake

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  • Eichenauer, Vera Z.
  • Fuchs, Andreas
  • Kunze, Sven
  • Strobl, Eric

Abstract

We examine the role of local need and various distortions in the design and implementation of United Nations flash appeal triggered in response to the destructive 2015 Nepal earthquake. Specifically, we investigate the extent to which the allocation of this humanitarian assistance follows municipalities' affectedness and their physical and socio-economic vulnerabilities, as rapidly reducing suffering is the intended goal of flash appeals. We then analyze potential ethnic, religious, and political distortions. We alternatively consider the proposed project number, the proposed financial amount, and the subsequent funding decision by aid donors. Our results show that aid allocation is associated with geophysical estimates of the disaster's destructiveness, but shows little regard for the specific socio-economic and physical vulnerabilities conditional on destruction. It is worrisome that the allocation of the flash appeal commitments favors municipalities dominated by higher castes and disadvantages those with a greater distance to the Nepali capital Kathmandu.

Suggested Citation

  • Eichenauer, Vera Z. & Fuchs, Andreas & Kunze, Sven & Strobl, Eric, 2019. "Distortions in aid allocation of United Nations flash appeals: Evidence from the 2015 Nepal earthquake," Kiel Working Papers 2120, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkwp:2120
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    Cited by:

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    2. Bommer, Christian & Dreher, Axel & Perez-Alvarez, Marcello, 2022. "Home bias in humanitarian aid: The role of regional favoritism in the allocation of international disaster relief," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 208(C).
    3. Asmus, Gerda & Eichenauer, Vera & Fuchs, Andreas & Parks, Bradley, 2021. "Does India use development finance to compete with China? A subnational analysis," Kiel Working Papers 2189, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    4. Stephan Schneider & Sven Kunze, 2021. "Disastrous Discretion: Ambiguous Decision Situations Foster Political Favoritism," KOF Working papers 21-491, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    5. Shakya, Shishir & Basnet, Subuna & Paudel, Jayash, 2022. "Natural disasters and labor migration: Evidence from Nepal’s earthquake," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Humanitarian aid; disaster relief; natural disaster; earthquake; aid allocation; United Nations; emergency appeal; favoritism; caste system; Nepal;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H84 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Disaster Aid
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other

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