Aid Is Not Oil: Donor Utility, Heterogeneous Aid, and the Aid-Democratization Relationship

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Recent articles conclude that foreign aid, like other nontax resources, inhibits political change in authoritarian regimes. This article challenges both the negative political effects of aid and the similarity of aid to other resources. It develops a model incorporating changing donor preferences and the heterogeneity of foreign aid. Consistent with the model's predictions, an empirical test for the period 1973-2010 shows that, on average, the negative relationship between aid and the likelihood of democratic change is confined to the Cold War period. However, in the post-Cold War period, nondemocratic recipients of particular strategic importance can still use aid to thwart change. The relationship between oil revenue and democratic change does not follow the same pattern over time or across recipients. This supports the conclusion that aid has different properties than other, fungible, resources.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bermeo, SB

Published Date

  • June 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 70 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 32

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1531-5088

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0020-8183

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/S0020818315000296

Citation Source

  • Scopus