On Thursday, March 25, 2010, Center for Global Development hosted a seminar on Do bilateral donors give aid to influence elections? featuring Paul Niehaus, University of California, San Diego. Oeindrila Dube, Center for Global Development and New York University, served as the discussant and CGD's Michael Clemens moderated the talk.
Abstract: Understanding the effectiveness of foreign aid is a top priority for development research. But effectiveness at what? Research has focused on how foreign aid affects poverty or growth, but anecdotal evidence suggests that donors often use aid for other ends. We test whether donors use bilateral foreign aid to influence elections in developing countries. We find that recipient country administrations closely aligned with a donor receive more aid during election years, while those less aligned receive less. Consistent with our interpretation, this effect holds only in competitive elections and U.S. aid to non-government entities follows an opposite pattern. (This work is joint with Michael Faye.)
Read Niehaus' Political Aid Cycles paper (pdf)
Access Niehaus' Political Aid Cycles slides (pdf, 268K)
Read Dube's comments (pdf, 163K)