Journal of Development Studies

Is the allocation of food aid free from donor interest bias?

Author(s)

Eric Neumayer

Abstract

Many studies demonstrate that donor interest, particularly in the form of economic export and military-strategic interests, is an important determinant in the allocation of general development assistance. Does this hold true for food aid as well? This article analyses the allocation of food aid in the 1990s by the world's three biggest donors as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It finds some evidence for donor interest bias, particularly in the form of preferential treatment of geographically close countries. However, neither military-strategic nor export interests seem to matter. Former Western colonies are also not treated differently. Instead, particularly European Union, multilateral and NGO food aid allocation appears quite sensitive towards recipient countries' needs.

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