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Religion and Foreign Aid

  • Alexandra Domike Blackman (a1)

Foreign aid allocations represent one of several important economic policy tools used by governments to realize their foreign policy objectives. Using a conjoint survey of respondents in the United States, this paper shows that recipient country religion is a significant determinant of individual-level foreign aid preferences. In particular, respondents express a preference for giving to Christian-majority countries in contrast to Muslim- or Buddhist-majority countries. This effect is comparable with that of other important determinants of support for foreign aid, such as a country's status as a U.S. ally or trade partner. Importantly, the preference for Christian recipient countries is especially pronounced among Christian, and most notably Evangelical Christian, respondents. This paper explores two potential mechanisms for the effect of religion: country religion as a heuristic and an individual-level preference for giving to co-religionists.

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Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Alexandra Domike Blackman, Stanford University, USA. E-mail:
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Politics and Religion
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