The Political Economy of Multilateral Foreign Aid: UNICEF as a Tool of U.S. Foreign Policy
25 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2014
Date Written: February 12, 2013
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has long been controlled by the United States. I show that countries that are politically closely aligned with the United States receive more foreign aid from UNICEF. In addition, UNICEF provides more aid to U.S.-friendly governments in recipient countries' election years, but only if those elections are competitive. I conclude that the United States uses UNICEF as a tool of its foreign policy. It uses its influence in an international organization to help aligned governments win elections, but does not want to waste aid money on elections whose result is known ahead of time. None of these findings hold for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) or the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), two U.N. organizations that have not been dominated by the United States.
Keywords: UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, foreign aid, international organization
JEL Classification: F02, F35, F33, O10, O19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation