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Foreign Aid, Human Rights and Democracy Promotion: Evidence from a Natural Experiment


Allison Sovey Carnegie


Yale University

Nikolay Marinov


University of Mannheim - Department of Political Science

August 2, 2012

American Journal of Political Science, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
Does foreign aid improve human rights and democracy? We help arbitrate the debate over this question by leveraging a novel source of exogeneity: the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. We find that when a country’s former colonizer holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union during the budget-making process, the country is allocated considerably more foreign aid than are countries whose former colonizer does not hold the presidency. Using instrumental variables estimation, we demonstrate that this aid has positive effects on human rights and democracy, although the effects are short-lived after the shock to aid dissipates. We adduce the timing of events, qualitative evidence, and theoretical insights to argue that the conditionality associated with an increased aid commitment is responsible for the positive effects in the domains of human rights and democracy.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 31

Keywords: democracy, European Council, foreign aid, human rights, natural experiment


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Date posted: January 11, 2013 ; Last revised: December 5, 2016

Suggested Citation

Carnegie, Allison Sovey and Marinov, Nikolay, Foreign Aid, Human Rights and Democracy Promotion: Evidence from a Natural Experiment (August 2, 2012). American Journal of Political Science, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2199131 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2199131

Contact Information

Allison Sovey Carnegie
Yale University ( email )
New Haven, CT 06520
United States
Nikolay Marinov (Contact Author)
University of Mannheim - Department of Political Science ( email )
Mannheim, D-68131
Germany
HOME PAGE: http://www.nikolaymarinov.com/
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