Paper: Entering a club or forming its own? Analysing the determinants of humanitarian donors generosity

Paper details

Paper authors Clara Egger
In panel on One humanitarian club or many? The setting up of boundaries between and among humanitarian organizations
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


This paper analyses the motives leading an increasing number of states to devote resources to humanitarian aid. In 2016, humanitarian funding has reached an historical peak with USD 27,3 billions spent globally for responses to crises and emergencies. Although, the sector is still dominated by a stable club of long-established OECD aid agencies, newcomers, as Turkey, Saudi Arabia or the Gulf States are becoming increasingly generous towards crisis-affected population. This paper examines the determinants leading states to finance humanitarian aid and the impact of the diversification of donorship on the structuring of diverse clubs of donors. The argument defended in this paper is that these clubs are characterised by rival conceptions of the role humanitarianism plays in global politics. The first conception considers humanitarian aid as a support of military interventionism. The second conception is economic where funding humanitarian aid enables to stabilise commercial partners. The last conception is linked to the endorsement humanitarianism as a global norm by states, due to the combined pressure of domestic public opinion and national NGOs. At the empirical level, the paper is based on a two-step research approach: first, it analyses the determinants of donor generosity based on a large panel of countries from 1990 and 2017. Second, causal mechanisms are more detailed in each case building on interviews with humanitarian officer in state permanent representations in Geneva.



Clara Egger
CERAH Geneva