The Effects of Foreign Aid on Rebel Governance: Evidence from a Large-Scale U.S. Aid Program in Syria

42 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2019

See all articles by Allison Carnegie

Allison Carnegie

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Kimberly Howe

Tufts University - The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Adam Lichtenheld

University of California, Berkeley, College of Letters & Science, Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science

Dipali Mukhopadyay

Columbia University

Date Written: March 12, 2019

Abstract

Most research underscores the inefficacy of foreign aid as an instrument for influencing local perceptions of governance in countries affected by conflict. In contrast, we argue that aid can improve public perceptions of governing institutions during civil wars when those institutions arise from popular uprisings against authoritarian regimes. To evaluate our theory, we analyze new perceptions-based data, both quantitative and qualitative, which was collected from residents of 27 opposition-held communities inside Syria from 2014 to 2016. We find a positive statistical relationship between aid and perceptions of local institutions, but only when the populace does not believe the institutions were imposed by an outside actor. These results are further supported by placebo tests and a case study of Raqqa City, in which we show that aid boosted citizens' views of the local councils until ISIS took over.

Keywords: conflict, foreign aid, institutions, public goods provision

Suggested Citation

Carnegie, Allison and Howe, Kimberly and Lichtenheld, Adam and Mukhopadyay, Dipali, The Effects of Foreign Aid on Rebel Governance: Evidence from a Large-Scale U.S. Aid Program in Syria (March 12, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3351392 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3351392

Allison Carnegie (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

1331 International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Kimberly Howe

Tufts University - The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy ( email )

Medford, MA 02155
United States

Adam Lichtenheld

University of California, Berkeley, College of Letters & Science, Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Dipali Mukhopadyay

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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