An Empirical Analysis on Determinants of Aid Allocation by South Korean Civil Society Organizations

Jungsook Kim, Heon Joo Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines whether three sets of factors—humanitarianism, the South Korean government’s official aid, and concerns regarding performance—affect South Korean CSOs’ decisions regarding aid recipients and the amount of aid to them. The statistical results of these two-stage analyses show that South Korean CSOs take into consideration different sets of factors at each stage of their aid allocation decisions. While humanitarianism and ODA allocation are consistently important at both stages of South Korean CSOs’ aid allocation decisions, performance concerns for aid effectiveness and efficiency (language and religion) matter especially at the second stage. Governance level of a developing country has a positive relationship with aid allocation decisions, while the direction of influence changes when only recipient countries are included in the regression analysis. These findings suggest that concerns regarding accountability and autonomy of CSOs in the context of their growing engagement in development cooperation may be unwarranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-164
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The South Korean government like many other donor governments provides its ODA to or through CSOs for developmental purposes. During the period of 2015 to 2018, a total of 411 projects by development CSOs were co-funded by themselves and KOICA, the main agency for South Korea’s grant aid programs. Eighty-nine CSOs were funded, albeit in part, by KOICA, and the average amount of funds these CSOs spent for the purpose of development in developing countries was 3.2 million USD. On average, each CSO spent about 2.3 million USD out of its own pocket and KOICA subsidized 872,898 USD. These CSOs spent a total of 287 million USD in development projects and humanitarian activities in developing countries from 2015 to 2018.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2018S1A3A2075117).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, International Society for Third-Sector Research.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management


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