The Choice for Multilateralism: Foreign Aid and American Foreign Policy

39 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 3 Aug 2011

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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Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Why do states choose multilateralism? We develop three theories to explain this choice: a principal-agent model in which states trade some control over the policy for greater burden sharing; a normative logic of appropriateness; and hegemonic self-binding in which powerful states seek to reassure other countries. Each theory leads to distinct observable hypotheses regarding both the reasons for and the patterns of the public’s support and opposition to multilateralism. To focus our study, we choose to analyze support for bilateral and multilateral foreign aid giving by the United States. By analyzing survey data, we provide evidence about the correlates of public support for multilateral engagement, showing that two competing rationales - burden sharing and control - dictate some of the politics around the choice between multilateral and bilateral aid channels. We conclude with a discussion of how a rincipal-agent model can help us understand the choice for multilateralism.

Suggested Citation

Milner, Helen V. and Tingley, Dustin H., The Choice for Multilateralism: Foreign Aid and American Foreign Policy (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1900147

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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