This study seeks to further dialogue in the field of research on global health aid by posing the question, Do private donors providing voluntary extrabudgetary funds to the World Health Organization, who are allowed to earmark funds, prefer to allocate those funds to different types of programs than those allocated by other donors through institutional decision making processes involving both donors and recipients? Literature regarding donor interests indicates that private donors are likely to prefer to fund programs that are in line with personal interests, measurable, short-term, and have the ability to “prove” success. Literature on accountability structures and private involvement in international institutions indicates that structures that allow for earmarking result in private donors that are accountable only to themselves or their stakeholders, not institutions or recipients. These theories lead to the hypothesis that private donors, when allowed to earmark, will prefer to fund different types of programs than those funded by the WHO budget and allocated through decision making processes involving donors and recipients, and that the programs that private donors prefer will be vertical and short-term. This study seeks to respond to these hypotheses by using descriptive statistics to examine differences in the proportions of funding allocated to certain types of programs by voluntary private donors and by budgetary assessed funds. The hypotheses could not be supported or rejected due to limited statistical analysis; however, this study offers an important first look at the patterns in global health funding, especially those involving donors that are allowed to earmark. This study offers some evidence that there is a difference in how different sources choose to allocate funds, as well as provides insight into the types of programs private donors might prefer, and the potential implications of those preferences on the health outcomes in recipient countries. This study concludes that there is a startling gap in research regarding voluntary earmarked funds and private donor interest in global health aid that must be filled, especially considering the high rate of philanthropic funding in this field, and the theorized implications of reliance on such funding. Future research should focus on other providers of earmarked aid, factors that impact private interests, as well as on the impact of certain types of programs on health outcomes.


Draguljic, Gorana


Global and International Studies


Health Policy | International Relations | Other International and Area Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2018 Hannah Passmore