Published 27 August 2019 in Surveys
Since 2013, more and more French people support an increase in development aid.
French public support for official development assistance (ODA) has almost doubled from 18% to 33% between 2013 and 2018.
In parallel, this trend is reinforced by a continuing fall in the same period (from 43% to 27%) in the number of French people who want the government to reduce ODA.
These are opinions are given to a question which specifies the amount of ODA provided by France to developing countries (around 9 billion euros or only 0.38% of GNI). In reality this figure appears derisory compared to France’s overall GDP of 2000 billion euros, also provided in the question.
The results given to this question over the years demonstrate a growing space and attention for development issues in the French public arena. When we examine the data more closely, we can see three trends emerging:
for the average French person, there is an obvious trend toward supporting an increase in French ODA,
for some groups (notably far-right voters, or those who say they are not concerned by global poverty), there is no real change in support either way,
for those already concerned, informed or involved in development or global poverty, there is a strong swelling of support for increasing ODA.
Which hypotheses to explain this increase?
Successive civil society campaigns, which slowly "imprint" a better knowledge or awareness of development aid issues over time;
(Social) media coverage, or a growing ease in a globalised world to access, see or share information related to global poverty.
The emergence of migration issues, which have sparked debate and awareness about the reasons for migrants and refugees to leave their home countries in search of a better life.
Support to increase (a bit or a lot) French development aid to poor countries is something which is particularly visible in young respondents (18-24) or left-wing voters. Similarly, the desire to see ODA spending reduced is something which is typical of those over 35 or right-wing voters.
Political preference is a fundamental (and proportional) indicator of support of development aid. Left-wing voters agree with an increase, while far right-wing voters want to see ODA decreased. Center-voters are those who are most likely to give an opinion one way or another, and also (alongside the traditional right-wing voters) the highest percentage of those preferring to keep the status quo (neither increase nor decrease). Women and those over 50 are also the most likely not to have an opinion.
This data comes from our survey conducted by the YouGov Institute and piloted by the research team at University College London and the University of Birmingham as part of the project Aid Attitudes Tracker which measures the evolution of opinions and behaviors on issues of international solidarity in four countries.