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Diasporas and Development

This paper examines private transfers to international organisations and support for Official Development Assistance (ODA) using a unique data on US households from Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and the Generalised Social Surveys (GSS). In general, the study finds low rates of private giving to international aid organisations and low levels of support for increased ODA. To illuminate the factors that can explain the preferences toward private giving to international aid and support for public international aid, the paper investigates several additional explanations. One explanation involves the role of one’s social environment in influencing attitudes towards households in developing countries. To capture this effect, the study includes the fraction of a community that is foreign born. Between 1990 and 2005, the fraction of the foreign born in the US population increased from five percent to 12 percent. Unlike past waves of immigration, recent immigrants are more likely to come from developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We examine the hypothesis that recent inflows of immigrants may influence attitudes and preferences towards international redistribution.