Effectiveness of foreign assistance in Central America: The case of Hurricane Mitch

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


International Studies

First Committee Member

Richard Weisskoff - Committee Chair


This dissertation establishes the pattern of aid and assistance provided by the United States and the European Union to the Central American region through a comparative evaluation of the relative effectiveness of their assistance efforts during the 1990's. This study considers the relative effect of both EU and U.S. disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Mitch, from the emergency phase through rehabilitation to the overall restoration and reconstruction, in addition to programs aimed at overcoming the environmental destruction Mitch caused as well as continued environmental programs that unite these countries under specific environmental objectives. These programs focused on the reconstruction of the region are the key variables that will be measured in this study.Utilizing international regime theory, to evaluate the international aid regime, as well as incorporating Graham Allison's Bureaucratic Politics Model and elite theory, to evaluate the process of decision-making by both U.S. and EU mandarins, provides unique insight. All three phases of U.S. and EU provided assistance are evaluated and demonstrate the varying amount, timing, reach and overall effectiveness of their efforts in the region following Hurricane Mitch. The lack of a coordinated effort by the U.S. and EU is also considered. Recognition is placed on the region's continued need as well as the focus on sustainable human development and disaster preparedness planning and education projects as a means of lessening the impact of future natural disasters.


Political Science, General; Political Science, International Law and Relations; Sociology, Public and Social Welfare

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