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Food aid: for food security or for making politics? The evidence on U.S. food aid during the Cold War

18 November 2015
San Francesco - Via della Quarquonia 1 (Classroom 1 )
Food aid has traditionally served as an important element of policies aimed at promoting development. The reason for this, at least partly, is the fact that food aid is widely acknowledged for its role in alleviating food shortages and hunger in the developing world. In fact, it is the main component of humanitarian aid. That said, although food aid is primarily concerned with combating hunger and malnutrition, the general question of whether it is an effective tool remains open. In fact, there is an intensive debate in the literature which investigates various impacts of food aid, including its influence on recipient countries’ food production, poverty or the incidence of conflicts (see, among others, Abdulai et al., 2005; Clay et al., 1998; Kirwan and McMillan, 2007; Nunn and Qian, 2014). In addition, there is a large body of research studying to what extent food aid is actually targeted and delivered to countries most in need. Overall, these studies produce mixed findings. This paper aims to further contribute to this literature but with a different focus. More specifically, we investigate whether food aid, except for its role in assisting recipient country in meeting its food needs, may serve also to promote the interests of a donor country. In particular, we examine to what extent shipping food aid into a recipient country favours at the same time trade flows from a donor country.
Falkowski, Jan