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Who were the US Peace Corps Volunteers and where did they serve?

Lee, Dongil

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Abstract

Who were the US Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs)? When, where, and how long did they serve in their missions? Despite public interest in the foreign aid agency, there are few studies providing answers to these fundamental questions. Using official government records on all volunteers–over 240,000–from 1961 through 2018, I explore how the agency evolved over the past six decades. During the period, the agency sent, on average, 4,000 PCVs abroad every year, reaching its pinnacle in the mid-1960s. Female and non-white volunteers became increasingly more common. Descriptive statistics suggest that country-level volunteer assignments were driven by multiple motives: economic need, U.S. diplomatic relations, and safety and security concerns with regard to host countries. Among them, concerns about safety and security are particularly important for volunteer assignments, unlike monetary forms of foreign aid. Taken together, the supply and demand side of the PCV assignment were shaped by both changes in American society and international politics.

Issue Date
2023-12
Publisher
KDI School of Public Policy and Management
Pages
56
Series Title
KDIS Working Paper 23-17
URI
https://archives.kdischool.ac.kr/handle/11125/53495
URL
https://ssrn.com/abstract=4703395
DOI
10.2139/ssrn.4703395
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