Journal Article

Does private aid follow the flag? An empirical analysis of humanitarian assistance

The World Economy, 44(3): 671-705

This paper compares the allocation of private humanitarian aid to that of official humanitarian aid awarded to 140 recipient countries over the 2000–2016 period. We construct a new database that offers information on the country in which the headquarters of private donors are located to test whether private aid tends to follow the humanitarian aid allocation pattern of the respective official donor. Our empirical results confirm that private humanitarian aid tends to “follow the flag”. This finding is robust against the inclusion of various fixed effects, estimating instrumental variables models and disaggregating private humanitarian aid into corporate aid and NGO aid. Donor country‐specific estimations reveal that private humanitarian aid from China, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States tend to “follow the flag”.


Hannes Öhler


Publication Date
JEL Classification
H84; F35; F59