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This paper identifies the factors driving the allocations of food aid in Ethiopia. We determine both how food aid is allocated across rural regions, reflecting the targeting criteria of the federal government, as well as how aid is allocated within regions, reflecting the decisions of local authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Devising a measure of "need" is difficult and controversial and there is no consensus on how to do so. It is agreed by most analysts that income is an imperfect measure of need, yet it is arguably the best single indicator of need in the absence of more detailed anthropometric information. Econometric analysis is used to examine the degree to which food aid is targeted according to pre-aid per capita household income, as well as to other factors. The paper also identifies factors associated with low incomes at regional- and household-levels, in order to be helpful to donors, NGOs and governments in their efforts to improve the targeting of food aid. Data are drawn from the Food Security Survey (FSS), fielded on a subset of the 1995/96 Annual Agricultural Sample Survey by the Ethiopian Central Statistical Authority. The data covers 4,112 households in 348 weredas. To examine the validity of the data, we calculated the amount of food aid received at the regional level from the FSS sample households and compared these results with actual food aid distribution records of the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC). The results showed striking similarities, and provide a robust external test of validity of the FSS and CSA data sets (Clay, Molla, and Debebe 1998).


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