Distortions in Aid Allocation of United Nations Flash Appeals: Evidence From the 2015 Nepal Earthquake

Kiel Working Paper No. 2120. Kiel, Germany: Kiel Institute for the World Economy

51 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2019

See all articles by Vera Z. Eichenauer

Vera Z. Eichenauer

KOF Swiss Economic Institute at ETH Zurich

Andreas Fuchs

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration; Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Sven Kunze

Heidelberg University - Alfred Weber Institute for Economics

Eric Strobl

Ecole Polytechnique, Paris - Department of Economic Sciences; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: February 1, 2019

Abstract

We examine the role of local need and various distortions in the design and implementation of United Nations flash appeal triggered in response to the destructive 2015 Nepal earthquake. Specifically, we investigate the extent to which the allocation of this humanitarian assistance follows municipalities’ affectedness and their physical and socio-economic vulnerabilities, as rapidly reducing suffering is the intended goal of flash appeals. We then analyze potential ethnic, religious, and political distortions. We alternatively consider the proposed project number, the proposed financial amount, and the subsequent funding decision by aid donors. Our results show that aid allocation is associated with geophysical estimates of the disaster’s destructiveness, but shows little regard for the specific socio-economic and physical vulnerabilities conditional on destruction. It is worrisome that the allocation of the flash appeal commitments favors municipalities dominated by higher castes and disadvantages those with a greater distance to the Nepali capital Kathmandu.

Keywords: Humanitarian Aid, Disaster Relief, Natural Disaster, Earthquake, United Nations, Aid Allocation, Favoritism, Caste System, Nepal

JEL Classification: H84, F35, F59

Suggested Citation

Eichenauer, Vera Z. and Fuchs, Andreas and Kunze, Sven and Strobl, Eric, Distortions in Aid Allocation of United Nations Flash Appeals: Evidence From the 2015 Nepal Earthquake (February 1, 2019). Kiel Working Paper No. 2120. Kiel, Germany: Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3341363 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3341363

Vera Z. Eichenauer

KOF Swiss Economic Institute at ETH Zurich ( email )

Leonhardstrasse 21
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/view/vera-eichenauer/home

Andreas Fuchs (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
Goettingen, 37073
Germany

Kiel Institute for the World Economy ( email )

Kiellinie 66
Kiel, Schleswig-Hosltein 24105
Germany

Sven Kunze

Heidelberg University - Alfred Weber Institute for Economics ( email )

Grabengasse 14
Heidelberg, D-69117
Germany

Eric Strobl

Ecole Polytechnique, Paris - Department of Economic Sciences ( email )

Ecole Polytechnique
Department of Economics
Paris, 75005
France

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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