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

33 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2010

See all articles by Helen V. Milner

Helen V. Milner

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

Dustin H. Tingley

Harvard University - Department of Government

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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 25-year period. Stolper–Samuelson models along with political ideology can help explain legislators' preferences toward aid.

Suggested Citation

Milner, Helen V. and Tingley, Dustin H., The Political Economy of U.S. Foreign Aid: American Legislators and the Domestic Politics of Aid. Economics & Politics, Vol. 22, Issue 2, pp. 200-232, July 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1625562 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0343.2009.00356.x

Helen V. Milner (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson 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 H. Tingley

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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