16 Responses

  1. Monique
    Monique October 20, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    As a planning student in W.A who is currently undertaking a unit in International Development as an elective, I must say: to read about a quantifiable study that assesses international aid in Australia and Australia’s perception to aid, I found this article quite refreshing, albeit disappointing. Whilst I understand that Australia is still in a position that requires significant work on the home soil (and whilst I do not hold myself out to be an expert in Australian economics or finance), surely we as a nation can afford to better the development of others, especially those who are substantially worse off than we?! I also read Terence’s blog posted in 2015: What do Australians think about foreign aid? This was particularly eye-opening. To discover that the Australian federal government donates less than 1% of the federal budget was particularly boggling.

    I also have to question people’s willingness to dig into their own back pockets. With 75% of Australian’s supporting the government’s decision to provide foreign aid (Burkot & Wood 2015), would they themselves actually donate? I doubt it. I expect only a small proportion of that 75% would be willing to open their own purses. Whilst I think providing Australia’s with the necessary information as to how much money is spent via Australian and British governments is a must, perhaps more information is required. I know that I would like to know where exactly the money is going, how many people it is likely to help, who it will help, that it will be for long term development purposes that will ultimately help the country stand on its own feet in the years to come, rather than just short term ‘fixes’.

    1. Terence
      Terence October 22, 2016 at 1:53 am

      Hi Monique,

      Thank you for your comment. My rough estimate on the basis of the data I have is that about 10% (maybe as many as 15%) of voting age Australians donate to aid NGOs in any given year. The number would be higher, obviously, if we took a longer period, say once every 3 years.

      If you want detailed info on Australian government aid spending please see the Devpolicy Australian Aid Tracker.

      Also, ACFID have a great map of where their members (most Australian aid NGOs) work. I can’t find it at present (in haste as I’m travelling) but it is on their website somewhere.

      Thanks again for your comment.


  2. pete baynard-smith
    pete baynard-smith February 25, 2016 at 11:52 am

    hi terence, very interesting study – like Weh my mind goes immediately to what is the substance that ppl think of when we talk about aid? just the volume of $ or do they think of the impact that is achieved by aid?if the questions presented impact data, showed progress as well as highlighted further inroads to be made, perhaps the response to too much/too little/just right might produce interesting findings?
    thanks though for prompting such an interesting discussion

  3. Kylie Fisk
    Kylie Fisk February 24, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Hi Terence,

    Interesting study! The results are in line with a mass of social psychological research that finds norms guide beliefs and behaviour above and beyond attitude persuasion (e.g., aid volume)

    Norm perception can be derived from individual behaviour, information about the group, and institutional signals. Given that the institutional signaling in Australia is pretty dismal, I wonder if the most effective method of garnering support for increasing aid would be to highlight the number of in-group members (Australians) who support aid increases, rather than emphasising the majority who don’t?
    Your previous opinion poll study showed 43% oppose the cuts- that’s (to extrapolate) over 10 million Australians who support aid increases! I wonder how this phrasing would change support compared to a control?

    Here’s a great review article about norms and social change:
    “Some interventions aimed at influencing norms simply present individuals with new summary information about the group, hoping to replace the individual’s personal and subjective representation with this summary information.” (p.189).

    Would be interesting to see this approach applied to perceptions of aid.


  4. Jo Spratt
    Jo Spratt February 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Your title suggests you think the UK example has impact because of global norms and the idea of being a good global citizen. I’d like to think this, but wonder if experiment three simply highlights a desire to compete and be better than other countries, rather than any commitment to a global norm. (Although, arguably, it could be competition over achieving the global norm.) I’ll be interested to see what further inquiry shows. What it does highlight is how little we really know about how publics approach these issues of global citizenry, and what are the key factors driving or influencing their thinking.

  5. Garth Luke
    Garth Luke February 22, 2016 at 9:47 am

    It’s great to see a methodical approach to these questions Terence. Can I suggest as well as testing other additional information in the questions (eg information about what aid has achieved) that Devpolicy also compares results from one-off questions in general surveys with questions in dedicated surveys on aid where a respondent has time to give more thought to the question of aid through a range of aid related questions.

    I would also test online polling against telephone or in person polling. These online polling panels often receive payment for participating in surveys which may influence participation and results despite sample weighting corrections.

  6. Weh Yeoh
    Weh Yeoh February 19, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Hi Terence

    Thanks for this interesting insight. It’s great that you can compare three different methods and see the response to each. Unique opportunity.

    I’m curious as to how you picked the 3 different methods to explain why Australia isn’t giving enough aid. It seems to me that they are all numbers based arguments. They also don’t explain to the public what aid actually is, or how it helps. Even the most successful of the 3 options only had about 23% of people thinking that Australia doesn’t give enough aid. Sure, that’s a big change from the control group, but hardly enough for a campaigner to feel like we’re creating a groundswell of support.

    How did you come to the 3 different wordings that you provided?

    Thanks heaps.

Leave a Reply