He Who Writes the Checks Tells You How to Dance: Explaining Health Aid Channel Allocation and Institutional Choice

Katherine Banks. "He Who Writes the Checks Tells You How to Dance: Explaining Health Aid Channel Allocation and Institutional Choice." Diss., University of Washington, March 2015.

Committee: James Caporaso (co-chair), Elizabeth Kier (co-chair), and Mary Kay Gugerty

Dissertation abstract

Countries use foreign aid—even development assistance for health—to achieve political, commercial, and policy goals. At the root, choices about health aid allocation are value-based decisions that have important implications for both the donor’s foreign policy and developing countries’ health outcomes. In allocating aid, donor governments decide how best to realize their interests. For example, some argue that the more U.S. policymakers control the dispersion of aid, the more likely it will promote U.S. policy objectives; others argue that a coordinated, multi-country (or, multilateral) response is needed to meet the rising global health need. This dissertation tests theoretical explanations for why states chose bilateral or multilateral institutions to provide health aid. Why, for example, do Belgium and Denmark—both small countries with large foreign aid budgets—adopt such different approaches. And, what explains the variation in U.S. health aid policy? I use cross-national health aid data from OECD-DAC member states, coupled with field interviews, to analyze the factors that influence decisions about health aid allocation.

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