Sarah Rosenberg

AbstractThis article describes the motivations that drive the relationship between donors and recipients of foreign aid. Ultimately, these motivations are self-interested, which leads to the characterization of foreign aid as either a patronage or partnership relationship. The goal of the donor country is to grow the international economy by achieving economic and political stability in the region, and the recipient country aims to use the money received in the most efficient way possible to obviate the need for additional aid. The article analyzes case studies from Africa, the former Yugoslavia, and Asia to assess the role of local participation in the reforms that accompany aid in developing countries and consider whether local participation promotes a bottom-up approach that will engender long-term change. After accounting for economic, ideological, and social factors that influence the dynamics of aid politics, the article concludes that if humanitarian aid is to truly improve the living standards and quality of life of people in developing countries, then the unique local cultural and social aspects of recipient states must be taken into consideration.

Keywords: humanitarianism, foreign aid, game theory, economics, Yugoslavia, bottom-up approach, development


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