The Determinants of Dutch Development Aid Pursuit of "principles"of profits?

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For the first time since 1975, in 2013 the Netherlands dropped below the UN target of allocating 0.7% of one’s GNP to aid. This, in addition to the fact that the policy would be too commercialized, led to the party resignation of the Dutch former Minister of Development Cooperation, Minister Pronk. His party, with Ploumen as the new Minister, was in fact responsible for this new policy which Pronk called ‘a denial of a core principle’. This apparent change in Dutch aid policy was striking because with a government of similar political color and Ministers from the same political party one would expect some form of community. This was furthermore puzzling because the Dutch have always had the reputation of being a generous donor, with which they suddenly seemed to break. A comparison between Pronk’s 1993-Agenda and Ploumen’s 2013-Agenda is therefore an interesting one. The question this thesis aims to answer is the following: How can the Dutch aid policy in the 1993-Agenda and the 2013-Agenda be explained, and is there a change in underlying interests and focus between them? To answer this question, the three grand theories – realism, liberalism, and constructivism – are juxtaposed in order to find out if either provides an adequate explanation of the Dutch aid policy interests. This thesis is argues that the explanation of Dutch foreign aid policy can be found in the liberalist theory. A Dutch economic self-interest, and enlightened self-interest were found in the 2013-Agenda, and a Dutch enlightened self-interest dominated the 1993-Agenda. The other two grand theories were refuted in this thesis.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen