Can information Change Public Support for Aid?

Donor country publics typically know little about how much aid their governments give. This paper reports on three experiments conducted in Australia designed to study whether providing accurate information on government giving changes people’s views about aid. Treating participants by showing them how little Australia gives or by showing declining generosity has little effect. However, contrasting Australian aid cuts with increases in the United Kingdom raises support for aid substantially. Motivated reasoning likely explains the broad absence of findings in the first two treatments. Concern with international norms and perceptions likely explains the efficacy of the third treatment.