The Political Economy of U.S. Foreign Aid: American Legislators and the Domestic Politics of Aid

Economics and Politics, Forthcoming

45 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2010

See all articles by Helen V. Milner

Helen V. Milner

Princeton University - Princeton School of Public and International Affairs; Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Dustin Tingley

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 28, 2009

Abstract

Are there systematic political economy factors that shape preferences for foreign aid, a key component of American foreign policy? We analyze votes in the House of Representatives from 1979 to 2003 that would increase or decrease foreign aid by considering the political, economic, and ideological characteristics of legislators and their districts. To understand who supports and opposes foreign aid, we utilize theories of foreign economic policy preferences. By examining different types of aid policy, we show that domestic politics and especially the distributional consequences of economic aid can matter. The economic characteristics of a district and its left-right ideological predispositions influence support for aid in a systematic fashion over the nearly twenty-five year period. Stolper-Samuelson models along with political ideology can help explain legislators’ preferences toward aid.

Keywords: foreign aid, domestic politics, Stolper-Samuelson, Congress

Suggested Citation

Milner, Helen V. and Tingley, Dustin, The Political Economy of U.S. Foreign Aid: American Legislators and the Domestic Politics of Aid (January 28, 2009). Economics and Politics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1552080

Helen V. Milner

Princeton University - Princeton School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1013
United States
609-258-0181 (Phone)

Dustin Tingley (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States

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