The Politics of Humanitarian Aid: U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, 1964—1995

Drury, A. Cooper; Olson, Richard Stuart; Van Belle, Douglas A.
May 2005
Journal of Politics;May2005, Vol. 67 Issue 2, p454
Academic Journal
Previous studies of U.S. foreign aid have firmly established that foreign policy and domestic considerations strongly influence allocations of military and economic development assistance. Uncharted, however, is the question of similar influences on U.S. humanitarian aid. Analyzing U.S. foreign disaster assistance data from 1964 through 1995, this paper concludes that foreign policy and domestic factors not only influence disaster assistance allocations but that they are the overriding determinant. This impact is, however, somewhat differential: the initial“yes/no” decision to grant disaster assistance is markedly political, but the subsequent“how much” decision is also not devoid of political considerations.


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