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March 20, 2017

Does Foreign Aid Help Donor Countries More than the Recipients?

In 2013, the United States government provided over $23 billion dollars in foreign aid assistance, representing approximately 1% of their annual federal spending (Foreign Assistance, 2013).  While this monetary denomination may be considered significantly substantial by many standards, the topic of discussion is not necessarily how much is being provided, but rather how these funds are being used by the recipients.  In relation to the population as a whole, very few individuals actually have any involvement in the process of allocating or distributing, or consequently receiving and employing the federal funds the United States provides. Additionally, a general lack of valid research and evaluation regarding the effectiveness following the implementation of these contributions also exists (Milner, Nielson, and Findley, 2012). These generally undocumented circumstances of application can present subjective feelings of doubt or mistrust among the United States’ tax paying citizens, those of whom initially contribute to the monetary allowance being distributed to foreign countries’ citizens.

Obtaining tangible evidence of the appropriate use, or misuse, of foreign aid contributions would most certainly be of benefit to both the United States and the citizens of the recipient countries. Investigating the long-term consequences of this spending behavior would likely offer guidance and direction for future allocations and effective intentions of use by the recipients. Furthermore, evaluating the use of federal aid among recipient countries may result in valuable changes in the strategies or techniques of the foreign countries’ spending decisions, helping to resolve conflict or crisis in a timely, ideal manner. The ability and beneficence of the United States to provide educational, military, and social services to the global population is clearly evident and commendable, but its ability to prove the qualitative effectiveness of its efforts remains unanswered.

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