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Chapter 1 presents the motivation of the study, including empirical and theoretical puzzles about how foreign aid delivery varies markedly across donors and time. The chapter then reviews the relevant foreign aid literature. It outlines the approach to studying foreign aid delivery and briefly summarizes the theoretical argument as well as the empirical strategy used to test the theory. It describes the plan of the book.
The literature on aid allocation shows that many factors influence donors’ decision to provide aid. However, our knowledge about foreign aid allocation is based on traditional foreign aid, from developed to developing countries, and many assumptions of these theories do not hold when applied to southern donors. This article argues that south-south development cooperation (SSDC) can be explained by the strength of development cooperation’s domestic allies and foes. Specifically, it identifies civil society organizations as allies of SSDC and nationalist groups as opponents of SSDC. By using for the first time data on SSDC activities in Latin America, this article shows the predictive strength of a liberal domestic politics approach in comparison to the predictive power of alternative explanations. The results speak to scholars of both traditional foreign aid and south-south development cooperation in highlighting the limits of traditional theories of foreign aid motivations.
We employ matching methods to explore the relationships between foreign aid flows and corruption in recipient countries. Data are drawn from recipients of foreign aid for the 1996–2013 period. We find no compelling evidence of an effect running from corruption to aid flows. Furthermore, point estimates imply that corruption reforms lead countries to receive less aid. Alternatively, we generally find that, over a 10-year horizon, a sustained increase in aid leads to more corruption in a recipient. It is the sustained nature of an aid increase that seems to be important for this effect. (We generally do not report significant results for large changes in aid that are not sustained over time.)
Is foreign aid an effective instrument of soft power? Does it generate affinity for donor countries and the values they espouse? This article answers these questions in the context of Chinese aid to Africa and the competing aid regime of the United States. The study combines data on thirty-eight African countries from Afrobarometer, AidData, and the Aid Information Management Systems of African finance and planning ministries. The authors use spatial difference-in-differences to isolate the causal effects of Chinese and US aid. The study finds that Chinese aid to Africa does not increase (and may in fact reduce) beneficiaries’ support for China. By contrast, US aid appears to increase support for the United States and to strengthen recipients’ commitment to liberal democratic values, such as the belief in the importance of elections. Chinese aid does not appear to weaken this commitment, and may strengthen it. The study also finds that Chinese aid increases support for the UK, France and other former colonial powers. These findings advance our understanding of the conditions under which competing aid regimes generate soft power and facilitate the transmission of political principles and ideals.
A primary objective of foreign aid in conflict zones is to help political actors win citizens’ ‘hearts and minds’. Previous studies have focused on assistance provided to state actors; however, this article examines aid's impact on rebel governance. It argues that aid only bolsters opinions of rebel governors where military control is uncontested. In contested areas, rebels lose credibility if they cannot offer protection, and they have difficulty delivering – and receiving credit for – services in insecure environments crowded with competitors. Using novel data from the Syrian civil war, this article shows that aid improves opinions of opposition councils in uncontested areas but not in communities experiencing intra-rebel conflict. It also explores the underlying mechanisms using in-depth interviews with residents of Aleppo City and Saraqeb. The findings reveal a more nuanced relationship among aid, military competition and governance than prior studies have suggested, which has implications for both scholars and policy makers.
Chapter 7 finds a significant relationship between group empathy and foreign policy opinion. Consistent with our previous findings, African Americans and Latinos expressed significantly higher group empathy in general and also specifically toward refugees, Arabs, and Muslims than did whites. Group empathy again helped explain racial/ethnic gaps in policy preferences as well as distinct reactions to experimental vignettes about humanitarian crises in other countries. On average, those high in group empathy attributed higher responsibility to the USA to protect other nations in need and were much more supportive of foreign aid. Group empathy was also associated with increased support for humanitarian assistance, asylum for Syrian civilians, as well as for military intervention to mitigate the humanitarian crisis depicted in our experimental vignettes. Furthermore, group empathy was the strongest predictor of opposition to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, even eclipsing that of partisanship and ideology.
What are the effects of foreign aid on the perceived legitimacy of recipient states? Different donors adhere to different rules, principles, and operating procedures. The authors theorize that variation in these aid regimes may generate variation in the effects of aid on state legitimacy. To test their theory, they compare aid from the United States to aid from China, its most prominent geopolitical rival. Their research design combines within-country analysis of original surveys, survey experiments, and behavioral games in Liberia with cross-country analysis of existing administrative and Afrobarometer data from six African countries. They exploit multiple proxies for state legitimacy, but focus in particular on tax compliance and morale. Contrary to expectations, the authors find little evidence to suggest that exposure to aid diminishes the legitimacy of African states. If anything, the opposite appears to be true. Their results are consistent across multiple settings, multiple levels of analysis, and multiple measurement and identification strategies, and are unlikely to be artifacts of sample selection, statistical power, or the strength or weakness of particular experimental treatments. The authors conclude that the effects of aid on state legitimacy at the microlevel are largely benign.
China’s rise is ushering in a new era of geostrategic contestation involving foreign aid. In many traditional OECD donors, aid policy is changing as a result. We report on a survey experiment studying the impacts of rising Chinese aid on public opinion in traditional donors. We randomly treated people with vignettes emphasising China’s rise as an aid donor in the Pacific, a region of substantial geostrategic competition. We used a large, nationally-representative sample of Australians (Australia is the largest donor to the Pacific). As expected, treating participants reduced hostility to aid and increased support for more aid focused on the Pacific. Counter to expectations, however, treatment reduced support for using aid to advance Australian interests. These findings were largely replicated in a separate experiment in New Zealand. Knowledge of Chinese competition changes support for aid, but it does not increase support for using aid as a tool of geostrategy.
One likely effect of the COVID-19 pandemic will be an increased focus on health diplomacy, a topic that has rarely been taken up by international relations scholars. After reviewing existing literature on health diplomacy, I argue for the utility of distinguishing states’ aims from their practices of health diplomacy in advancing our understanding of when states engage in health diplomacy with a bilateral, regional, or global scope. The recent history of twenty-first century infectious disease outbreaks suggests a possible move away from health diplomacy with global participation. COVID-19 provides numerous examples, from widespread criticism of the World Health Organization to increased bilateral health aid and the creation of a regional vaccine initiative. As pandemics become more frequent, however, more localized health diplomacy is likely to be less effective, given the necessity of global mitigation and containment.
Bangladesh’s elite had been decimated twice within a generation. In 1947 many upper-class, professional and entrepreneurial Hindus had left for India and they had been largely replaced by newcomers from West Pakistan. In 1971 these newcomers retreated to Pakistan amidst targeted killings of the delta’s professionals and intellectuals. As a result, independent Bangladesh started out with only a few people who had any experience in running state institutions or large enterprises. They needed all the help they could get. Suddenly they had to perform on the global stage. As a result, Bangladesh society rapidly developed new transnational links that would shape its future course. Especially influential were foreign aid and investment, mass migration and rapid advances in connectivity.
From the birth of Pakistan, the central government saw itself as devoted to development. It assumed an interventionist role, but the funds it released were unimpressive. In the early 1950s the Cold War had made government-to-government aid a useful geopolitical tool, and there was a strong belief among experts that aid would accelerate economic growth. The Pakistan elite became heavily aid-dependent. In East Pakistan the Comilla model of cooperatives became important, as did the creation of a hydroelectric dam project in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
If foreign aid is provided primarily for strategic reasons, as much of the field finds, how can donor generosity following natural disasters be explained? This article addresses this puzzle by building on the literature in three ways. First, it differentiates between three major types of aid: humanitarian, civil society and development. Second, it demonstrates that natural disasters act as an exogenous shock to the strategic calculus that donor countries undertake when making foreign aid allocation decisions. Specifically, the authors argue that donor countries use natural disasters as opportunities to exert influence on strategic opponents through the allocation of humanitarian and civil society aid. However, donors still reserve development aid for strategic allies irrespective of the incidence of natural disasters. Third, the findings are substantiated using a new measure of strategic interest that accounts for the indirect ties states share and the multiple dimensions upon which they interact.
What explains variation in individual preferences for foreign economic engagement? Although a large and growing literature addresses that question, little research examines how partner countries affect public opinion on policies such as trade, foreign aid, and investment. We construct a new theory arguing that political side-taking by outside powers shapes individuals’ support for engaging economically with those countries. We test the theory using original surveys in the United States and Tunisia. In both cases, the potential partner country's side-taking in the partisan politics of the respondents’ country dramatically shapes support for foreign economic relations. As the rise of new aid donors, investors, and trade partners creates new choices in economic partners, our theory and findings are critical to understanding mass preferences about open economic engagement.
Scholars have pointed to the period 1958-1962 as the beginning of Taiwan's transition to export-oriented industrialization. Although the Nationalist Party (KMT) had traditionally supported state socialism, the KMT began to oversee economic reforms in the late 1950s, setting Taiwan on the course of export-led growth under a capitalist model. Using archival materials from both the United States and Taiwan, I argue that the reforms resulted from U.S. influence on how the KMT understood the role of economic development in its grand strategy. U.S. arguments succeeded in creating political support at the highest levels of the KMT leadership for a reform-oriented faction in the economic bureaucracy. This finding shows how an aid donor can promote economic reforms even when the recipient is strategically important for the donor: although threats to enforce conditionality may not be credible, the donor can influence the recipient through persuasion.
This article contributes to an understanding of why autocrats have accepted the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. Leveraging their ability to obstruct their own prosecution, autocrats have traded off the risk of unwanted prosecutions against the deterrent threat that prosecutions pose to political rivals and patrons of their enemies conspiring to oust them. The risk of unwanted prosecutions and the court's deterrent threat both arise because ICC prosecutions credibly communicate guilt for international crimes to capital-disbursing democracies, which may, insofar as possible, use leader-specific economic statecraft to prevent the administration of foreign states by those whom the court signals are guilty of international crimes. Analysis using fixed effects and matching shows that a greater reliance on capital publicly financed by democracies increased the probability that a state accepted the court's jurisdiction only when it was an autocracy (1998–2017). ICC jurisdiction also lengthened the tenure of autocrats and reduced the severity of civil conflict in autocracies.
During the past decade, states have initiated a striking trend in global governance: the creation and promulgation of indicators of the performance of international organizations (IOs). These Global Performance Indicators (GPIs) were developed to help policymakers make more efficient use of their multilateral funding in the context of budgetary pressures induced by the global economic crisis. Puzzlingly, however, not all IOs that have received high ratings have been “rewarded” with increased financial contributions, while not all IOs that have received low ratings have been “punished” with funding cuts or freezes. This chapter examines when and why IO performance indicators influence resource flows to these institutions. Analyzing ratings as a form of social knowledge, I develop an argument that highlights how different aspects of the relationship between IOs and other actors within their policy space mediate the financial effects of such knowledge. I posit that resource flows are only responsive to ratings when one of two relational conditions is satisfied: (1) IOs face a high degree of institutional competition; and (2) IOs have robust governance partnerships with non-state actors. I test the argument using a mixed-methods approach, combining qualitative evidence from interviews and other sources with statistical analyses – both observational and quasi-experimental – based on an original dataset covering all six sets of indicators issued thus far. In addition to highlighting an important area in which GPIs have emerged in recent years, the chapter enhances our understanding of the scope conditions for their effects.
Do Global Performance Indicators (GPIs) influence the application of material power? While existing research has shown that GPIs can provoke reform through social mechanisms, material power is an important tool for influencing states resistant to social pressure. We investigate whether GPIs shape third-party policymakers’ decisions to employ material power in the fight against corruption, an important component of the good governance agenda. We theorize that GPIs influence policymakers by acting as focal points that provide information and establish standards of behavior. We test this argument for a highly visible GPI: Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. We find that while this GPI garners significant media attention, it does not influence policymakers’ decisions to punish corruption offenders by withdrawing or altering foreign aid. Our results raise important scope conditions on the power of GPIs and suggest that their ability to alter state behavior through third-party material mechanisms may be limited.
In 2005, Cabo Verde became the second African country to receive the new foreign aid programme of the USA, the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). It was among the few recipients of a second grant. Foreign aid has always been a controversial and hotly contested issue, and the MCA is no exception. This paper, based partly on personal experience with the programme, provides a critical examination of the nature, process and implementation of the MCA grants in Cabo Verde. The country had campaigned aggressively for the grants. The MCA not only financed important public investments, it was debt-free and without conditionalities. However, even while it allowed more leeway over its use and implementation compared with other aid programmes, it engendered its own challenges.
Many foreign aid donors brand development interventions. How do citizens in the donor country react to seeing this branding in action? We test the proposition that citizens will express higher levels of support for foreign aid when they see a branded foreign aid project relative to seeing the same project without branding. We present results from a survey-based laboratory experiment conducted in the United Kingdom where subjects learned about a typical foreign aid project and received a randomized UK branding treatment. Our results suggest that the branding treatments increase the likelihood that donor country respondents believe that aid recipients can identify the source of the foreign aid. Only among conservative respondents, however, does the evidence imply that branding increases support for foreign aid. “UK aid” branding increases conservative opinion that aid dollars are well spent and increases support among this group for the expansion of foreign aid.