Why do countries give foreign aid? Although many countries have official development assistance programs, this book argues that no two of them see the purpose of these programmes in the same way. Moreover, the way countries frame that purpose has shaped aid policy choices past and present. The author examines how Belgium long gave aid out of a sense of obligation to its former colonies, The Netherlands was more interested in pursuing international influence, Italy has focused on the reputational payoffs of aid flows and Norwegian aid has had strong humanitarian motivations since the beginning. But at no time has a single frame shaped any one country's aid policy exclusively. Instead, analysing half a century of legislative debates on aid in these four countries, this book presents a unique picture both of cross-national and over time patterns in the salience of different aid frames and of varying aid programmes that resulted.

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