Working Paper
Non-Traditional Aid and Gender Equity

Evidence from Million Dollar Donations

This paper investigates the role of non-traditional aid in meeting global challenges in improving gender equality and gender-related socioeconomic needs in the twenty-first century. We define non-traditional aid as private donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations and use a newly available dataset that provides unique information about publicly announced private donations of US$1 million or more between 2000-01 from the USA to developing countries. Although there is growing interest in the role of non-traditional donors, much less is known about the flows of non-traditional aid toward gender issues in developing countries. In the past decade, there has been a significant growth in non-traditional aid; however, only a handful of studies have examined the size and composition of private philanthropy to developing countries. Our analysis reveals that non-traditional aid toward gender-related causes has grown, with a significant share of non-traditional aid targeted at women and children. In general, we find that non-traditional aid to developing countries is positively associated with population size, gross domestic product per capita, and the severity of natural disasters, with more populous countries and countries that experienced more severe disasters receiving more non-traditional aid. Interestingly, aggregate incidence and levels of non-traditional aid are positively associated with female mortality, holding other variables constant. Finally, we find that non-traditional aid is less responsive to geopolitical and strategic factors that are shown to be of importance for official development assistance.