Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 May 2009
Does food aid enhance or diminish the nutritional status of recipient populations in less developed countries? In proposing that the long-term impact is negative, critics have argued that aid depresses local food production, is maldistributed and mismanaged such that it does not reach the needy in sufficient quantities, or, where effective, that aid merely reduces the death rate relative to the birth rate, permitting more people to survive at the margin of existence. This study explores the long-term impact of U.S. Public Law 480 food aid through a crossnational analysis of aggregate data on aid receipts and change in nutritional status over the period from 1962 through 1974. Alternative hypotheses are tested through least squares methods and.mean difference tests in the framework of a nonequivalent control group, quasi-experimental design. This study supports the following generalizations: food aid is significantly related with improved nutritional status; the greater the aid, the greater the improvement in nutrition; higher aid recipients do not have significantly lower rates of growth in domestic food production; higher aid recipients do not have higher rates of population growth; and food aid may lead to greater meat consumption among higher aid recipients. Negative effects, experienced in some countries at some times, are not systematically incurred by all food aid recipients over time. In general, food aid does improve nutrition.
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33 Data on GNP per capita (1973) and exports per capita (1971) are from the CCPR (SUNY-Binghamton) Cross-National Data Archive. Data on population growth and growth in food production are from the Fourth World Food Survey and are for 1961–1970 and 1970–1976. Data on economic growth are from the United Nations, Statistical Yearbook, 1977.
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