Foreign Aid

Presence and Promise: Strategic Aid and Foreign-Induced Regime Change, pdf

This paper was awarded the 2014 Stuart A. Bremer Award from the Peace Science Society.

This paper considers the relationship between foreign aid and leader security. I argue that while the presence of aid increases leader security, the expectation of aid in the future can generate challenges to prevailing domestic political order. Through analysis of a formal model, I establish conditions under which the promise of foreign aid in the future generates incentives for political competition. This mechanism depends on the existence of domestic institutions that allow the private expropriation of rents from foreign aid. Using data on U.S. aid distribution, I present two empirical findings that bolster the results of the theoretical model. First, the promise of aid in the future increases the risk of leader turnover, but only in states that do not provide many public goods. Second, after correcting for the endogeneity between aid and democracy, leaders that currently receive aid are at a lowered risk of losing office.

Iron Fist in a Gilded Glove: Military Power and the Distribution of Foreign Aid, pdf

What is the relationship between military power and foreign aid? While expansive literatures exist linking political outcomes to both interstate coercion and foreign aid, these two mechanisms of negotiation remain analytically isolated from each other. Consequently, the possibility that states pursue their foreign policy goals through both foreign aid and coercive bargaining remains unexplored. In this paper, I develop a formal model linking political bargaining with both interstate resource transfers and the threat of war. I establish that military power has a strong negative effect on the level of aid provided by donors when recipient leaders are relatively unstable domestically. I test this hypothesis on foreign aid data from the U.S. State Department across the latter half of the twentieth century and find strong support for the hypothesis that donor military strength leads to a reduction in aid levels, but only when recipient leaders are unstable.