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Impact of Humanitarian Aid on Facilitating Corruption: A Look at Nations in Central America and the Caribbean

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dc.creator Simisola Fasehun
dc.date.accessioned 2022-01-25T19:45:27Z
dc.date.available 2022-01-25T19:45:27Z
dc.date.issued 2021
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1920/12646
dc.description.abstract Humanitarian assistance can be a lifeline in places where governments are either unwilling or unable to provide basic support for their citizens. As the number of global disasters continues to rise, so too does the need for humanitarian assistance. However, corruption may negatively impact the effectiveness of such aid. Corruption can hinder nation states’ ability to provide public services, humanitarian assistance, and emergency preparedness for their citizens. Researchers have investigated the benefits of development projects and humanitarian aid in low and lower-middle income countries, but little has been written on the role of humanitarian aid in facilitating corruption. Considering the increase in global instability and natural disasters, it is important to ask, “Does humanitarian aid increase corruption”? This dissertation will engage theories of corruption and obligation in humanitarian aid to evaluate how humanitarian aid contributes to corruption perception in countries with endemic and systematic corruption. This dissertation explores the impact of humanitarian aid on corruption perception in countries that receive aid from organizations in high-income countries. The focus is on assessing the success of transparency in aid programs and examining how and whether such aid contributes to corruption in countries with endemic and systematic corruption. Specifically, it will review nine countries in Central America and the Caribbean with high levels of corruption: Haiti, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Panama, Jamaica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Venezuela. The study period was from 2000 to 2018.The study used a mixed methods research approach to gather and analyze data. Specifically, a qualitative research approach in the form of semi-structured interviews of humanitarian aid practitioners and document reviews was used to gather qualitative data. In addition, the study utilized quantitative statistical methods to examine trends in corruption and its correlation with levels of humanitarian aid. Perhaps surprising, the quantitative analysis found that surges in humanitarian aid are NOT significantly correlated with increases in corruption. Rather, despite large fluctuations in humanitarian aid, measured levels of corruption are determined mainly by a country’s level of development and governing institutions; humanitarian aid, measured both in dollars and as percent of a country’s GDP, has no further effect, either by itself, with lags, or interacting with institutions. The qualitative analysis and case study found that donor organizations work hard to keep corruption from undercutting their humanitarian aid efforts. The data shows that while corrupt countries may remain corrupt, their measured corruption perception does not grow worse when large infusions of humanitarian aid are being provided.
dc.title Impact of Humanitarian Aid on Facilitating Corruption: A Look at Nations in Central America and the Caribbean
thesis.degree.level Ph.D.
thesis.degree.discipline Public Policy
thesis.degree.grantor George Mason University


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