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Session 3: 2:30pm-4:00pm


Moderated by Rachel Tomas Morgan, Director, International Summer Service Learning Program, Center for Social Concerns


Ethan Sager, Seattle Pacific University
Paternalism and Dead Aid

The use of aid is a hotly contested concept following the work of Sachs, Easterly, Moyo, Sen, Bannerjee, and Duflo presents us with a diverse set of viewpoints. This paper explores paternalisms' influence on foreign aid policy in the United States. A case study on aid disbursement stipulations to Ethiopia and Moldova is developed, highlighting the influence paternalism has on how aid was delivered from 2000 to 2012. This influence sheds new light on the foreign aid debate currently being waged. This paper posits the need to address paternalism in aid and its effects on development. Thus, we need to stop asking whether aid works; instead, we must reflect upon the benchmark's donor countries' set as success and allocation restrictions.

Caitlin Scott, University of Oregon
Reinforcing Push Factors in the Northern Triangle: An Investigation of Trump’s Attempts to Deter Immigration through Humanitarian Aid Reduction

The Northern Triangle of Central America has long been a major source of immigration to the United States. In April of 2019, the Trump Administration announced its intentions to freeze U.S. foreign aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in an overall strategy to punish the Central American nations and encourage them to employ their own immigration deterrence methods. However, concerns persisted regarding whether ending funding for humanitarian aid projects would effectively mitigate migration, when oftentimes these programs serve to lessen prominent push factors in the Northern Triangle and encourage reinvestment in local communities. After a thorough literature review of the related academic field and an examination of the root causes influencing the intense push factors in the NTCA, diverse stories from stakeholders present an overarching view of the impacts of President Trump’s aid policies. Interviews with migrants and aid beneficiaries, excerpts from Central American newspapers, conversations with aid workers, and statements from U.S. politicians point to the negative repercussions of aid reduction. Human perspectives of individuals closest to the situation describe the intensification of push factors without the support of USAID funding. Overall, despite attempts to use deterrence immigration policy to reduce migration, the Trump administration failed to acknowledge the power of regional push factors, ultimately reinforcing them by reducing the power of USAID projects to locally manage concerns.

Samuel Johnston, Willamette University
Coordination or Clustering: Logistic Estimation of Aid Fragmentation in Uganda

Uganda, like many of its peers, is highly dependent on foreign economic aid. In 2018, Official Development Assistance (ODA) made up 7.3% of the country’s Gross National Income (GNI) (OECD, 2020). Within the fraught literature on aid effectiveness, the fragmentation of the aid system continues to gain recognition as a critical issue (Öhler, 2013). Aid fragmentation, or the phenomenon of many aid actors pursuing different goals, leads to increased transaction costs as efforts are duplicated, places an increased burden on local bureaucracies, and ultimately undermines the effectiveness of aid. Many scholars use cross-country datasets to assess the effects of fragmentation across regions and over varying lengths of time. The issue of fragmentation within recipient nations, however, is comparatively neglected. Sub-national studies are vital to gain a complete picture of aid fragmentation, as regions within countries have differing levels of need and aid provision. This study aims to understand the underlying trends in Uganda’s fragmented aid landscape in the last two decades. Structured interviews with Ugandan aid professionals and researchers (n=4) in May 2020 provide qualitative context and motivation for an in-depth quantitative study of a unique aid project dataset from Uganda’s Aid Management Platform (AidData, 2016). Extending work done by a previous study (Nunnenkamp et al., 2016), logistic estimations are obtained for important factors that shape donors’ project decisions in Uganda. These results provide key insights into sub-national fragmentation trends in Uganda and underscore the need for more robust accountability in the aid industry.