Drivers of expenditure allocation in the iom: Refugees, donors, and international bureaucracy

Ronny Patz*, Svanhildur Thorvaldsdottir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Resources are key to the operations of international organisations (IOs) such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM). As many IOs and their international bureaucracies cannot rely on obligatory state contributions alone, the overall availability of resources therefore ultimately depends on IO bureaucracies’ mobilisation of additional voluntary funding from states and other donors. Focusing on the resourcing of IOM, we analyse almost two decades (1999–2016) of donor contributions and country-level expenditures of the agency, comparing these figures with similar data for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Through our analysis, we find that the IOM does not respond to refugee numbers in the same way that UNHCR does, while both organisations are responsive in their expenditure patterns to other populations of concern. We also assess the extent to which geographical distance from key donors plays a role in where the organisations allocate their funding. Here, the IOM expenditures shift in line with donor interests to a much greater extent than for the UNHCR. Our findings suggest that the IOM serves distinct political and operational purposes, sustained by a highly earmarked and projectised funding model that distinguishes it from the UNHCR and other IOs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Political Economy Series
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameInternational Political Economy Series
ISSN (Print)2662-2483
ISSN (Electronic)2662-2491

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements The research was supported by the project ‘Resource Mobilization in International Public Administration: Strategies for the Financing of International Public Policy’ (PI: Klaus H. Goetz), funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of the Research Unit ‘International Public Administration’. Research assistance in the coding and analysis of the data was provided by Beatriz Garabosky and Salma Nosseir.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


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