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Global samaritans? Donor election cycles and the allocation of humanitarian aid

Kurt Annen and Scott Strickland

European Economic Review, 2017, vol. 96, issue C, 38-47

Abstract: This paper finds a large causal donor election cycle effect in humanitarian aid allocations: on average, humanitarian aid increases by 19% in the year before elections. Our identification strategy consists of focusing on donors with fixed election dates, making elections clearly exogenous. Furthermore, we find large interaction effects with natural and human disasters. This evidence is consistent with our theory that incumbent governments responding to humanitarian disasters can increase voter support for their party and insure against the political fall-out of not being seen as representatives of a country with global interests and influence. However, it is important to stress that despite our findings, human and natural disasters explain a substantially larger share of the overall variation in humanitarian aid observed in the data.

Keywords: Humanitarian aid; Election cycles; Aid allocation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F35 D72 H5 O19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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