International Aid and how Americans have it all wrong

A recent Public Agenda poll again highlighted a long-held perception amongst Americans that the US is “doing more than its share" internationally. Seventy-one percent said that the US has generally done more than its fair share, 24% said it has done its fair share and only 3% said it has done less.

A PIPA poll also found widespread feeling that the US does more than its fair share relative to European countries.

Such opinions rest on major misperceptions.

One of the areas with the greatest misperception of US contributions lies in foreign aid. The most recent OECD estimate for US overseas development assistance indicates Americans have historically overestimated foreign aid as a portion of the US budget by nearly more than 100 times the actual amount.

Americans estimated that the US gave 37% of all development aid from rich countries. In fact, according to recent OECD figures, the US gives just 12% of the total amount of official development assistance.

[Source: WorldPublicOpinion.org]

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