Discussion paper

Developing countries in need: Which characteristics appeal most to people when donating money?

Humanitarian assistance Foreign aid Charitable giving Pacific Area

A discrete choice experiment was conducted to discover the relative importance of five characteristics of developing countries, as suggested by the literature, considered by people when choosing countries to donate money to. The experiment was administered via an online survey involving almost 700 student participants (potential donors) from a New Zealand university. The most important recipient-country characteristic for participants on average is hunger and malnutrition (a weight of 0.29), followed by child mortality (0.24), quality of infrastructure (0.21), income per capita (0.18), and, least importantly, ties to New Zealand (0.09). A cluster analysis of participants' individual 'part-worth utilities' representing the relative importance of the country characteristics reveals they are not strongly correlated with participants' demographic characteristics. Our findings overall indicate that to maximise the donations they receive, non-governmental aid organisations are better to focus their marketing efforts on emphasising country characteristics associated with hunger, malnutrition and child mortality than other things.

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