Foreign Policy Interests and International Disaster Assistance
29 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2019
Date Written: September 30, 2019
How does international financial assistance reflect strategic political interests? The "buying influence" argument predicts that countries provide more support to governments that pursue antithetical foreign policy objectives to induce favorable policy shifts. However, such efforts seem unlikely to persuade highly antithetical governments to engage in drastic policy changes and may not be necessary if a recipient country already pursues compatible foreign policies. We analyze international responses to natural disasters using data for 203 countries from 2000 to 2014 and find that donors provide more relief to countries whose foreign policies are moderately aligned. We also explore donors' delivery tactics and find that the probability of providing disaster assistance directly to the recipient country's government is more likely as political affinity with the donor country increases. Overall, the relationships between foreign policy interests and international assistance seem more consistent with a political efficiency logic than with the standard buying influence argument.
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