Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 11 > Issue 2

Does Foreign Aid Harm Political Rights? Evidence from U.S. Aid

Faisal Z. Ahmed, Princeton University, USA, fzahmed@princeton.edu
 
Suggested Citation
Faisal Z. Ahmed (2016), "Does Foreign Aid Harm Political Rights? Evidence from U.S. Aid", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 11: No. 2, pp 183-217. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00015110

Published: 29 Jul 2016
© 2016 F. Z. Ahmed
 
Subjects
International Relations,  Political Economy,  Human Rights
 
Keywords
International relationspolitical economyhuman rightsforeign aid
 

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In this article:
1. Existing Research
2. Empirical Strategy
3. Aiding Repression
4. Potential Concerns with Identification
5. Evaluating Mechanisms
6. Conclusion
References

Abstract

The United States is the world's largest bilateral foreign aid donor. For many developing countries, this aid constitutes a nontrivial share of state revenue with the capacity to shape a recipient's governance. Whether such assistance has a causal effect on political liberalization, however, is plagued by concerns with endogeneity bias. To mitigate this concern, I exploit plausibly exogenous variation in the legislative fragmentation of the U.S. House of Representatives to construct a powerful instrumental variable for U.S. bilateral aid disbursements. For a sample of 150 countries from 1972 to 2008, U.S. aid harms political rights, fosters other forms of state repression (measured along multiple dimensions), and strengthens authoritarian governance. U.S. aid does so by weakening government accountability via the taxation channel. These findings counter the publicly stated objectives of the U.S. government to foster political liberalization abroad via bilateral economic assistance.

DOI:10.1561/100.00015110

Online Appendix | 100.00015110_app.pdf

This is the article's accompanying appendix.

DOI: 10.1561/100.00015110_app

Replication Data | 100.00015110_supp.zip (ZIP).

This file contains the data that is required to replicate the data on your own system.

DOI: 10.1561/100.00015110_supp