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Colonial Legacies in International Aid: Policy Priorities and Actor Constellations


Becker, Bastian, 2020

In: Carina Schmitt (Hg.), From Colonialism to International Aid. External Actors and Social Protection in the Global South

Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Cham: Springer International Publishing, S. 161 - 185



Most contemporary nation states were, at one point or another, part of European colonial empires. Today, former colonial powers remain heavily involved in countries they once controlled, exerting influence through a variety of economic, political and social channels. One such channel is international aid. In this chapter I explore how colonial models, especially indirect rule in the case of the British Empire and centralization and assimilation strategies in the case of the French empire, affect (1) policy priorities in aid, in particular social protection, and (2) what actors are involved in the distribution of aid. To do so, I rely on a new dataset by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that allows for a more disaggregated analysis of aid flows than data used in earlier studies. While this chapter provides first evidence of colonial legacies in contemporary international aid, it also identifies divergences from colonial models. Explaining both is an important task for further research.

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