Can foreign aid donors credibly threaten to suspend aid? Evidence from a cross-national survey of donor officials
SourceReview of International Political Economy, 24, 3, (2017), pp. 454-496
29 maart 2017
Article / Letter to editor
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Review of International Political Economy
SubjectGlobal-Local Divides and Connections (GLOCAL)
Under what conditions are foreign aid donors willing to suspend foreign aid to punish political transgressions, such as election fraud, corruption scandals or political repression? Prior scholarship has emphasized that political sanctions, including foreign aid suspensions, are constrained by the geostrategic considerations of donor countries. However, foreign aid suspensions often occur in strategically important countries, and donors respond differently to different types of political transgressions within the same county. To shed light on this puzzle, in this article, I present evidence from an original survey of top-level donor representatives in 20 African countries, including a list experiment designed to elicit truthful responses about the conditions under which donors are willing to suspend foreign aid. I argue that the likelihood of a foreign aid suspension depends not only on the strategic considerations of the donor government, but also on the institutional incentives of the donor agency. A donor agency's institutional incentives are shaped by the agency's organizational design, as well as by its foreign aid portfolio in the recipient country.
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