Free DP Download 05 September 2019 - BIRTH REGION OF COUNTRIES’ POLITICAL LEADERS RECEIVE DISPROPORTIONATE INTERNATIONAL RELIEF AFTER A NATURAL DISASTER
HOME BIAS IN HUMANITARIAN AID: The role of regional favoritism in the allocation of international disaster relief
Christian Bommer, Axel Dreher, Marcello Perez-Alvarez
CEPR DP No. 13957 | 27 August 2019
A new CEPR study by Christian Bommer, Axel Dreher and Marcello Perez-Alvarez investigates whether regional favouritism and domestic political and commercial factors shape humanitarian aid flows.
Using a rich and unique dataset derived from reports of the Office of United States Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the research shows that substantially larger amounts of aid are disbursed when natural disasters hit the birth region of the recipient countries' political leader. The results find no evidence that US commercial or political interests affect the size of this home bias. But the bias is stronger in countries with a weaker bureaucracy and governance, suggesting that there is an absence of effective safeguards in the allocation of aid.
The authors conclude that favouritism in the extreme scenario of humanitarian need is alarming and more needs to be done to reduce the scope for manipulation by recipient country leaders.
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