Foreign Aid, Democratization, and Civil Conflict: How Does Democracy Aid Affect Civil Conflict?
From: Burcu Savun and Daniel C. Tirone
American Journal of Political Science
Published online: 1 FEB 2011
Abstract: It has been suggested that democratizing states are prone to civil wars. However, not all democratizing states experience domestic political violence. We argue that one of the key factors that “shelters” some democratizing states from domestic political violence is the receipt of democracy aid. Democratizing states that receive high levels of democracy assistance are less likely to experience civil conflict than countries that receive little or no external democracy assistance. During democratic transitions, the central authority weakens and uncertainty about future political commitments and promises among domestic groups increases. Democracy aid decreases the risk of conflict by reducing commitment problems and uncertainty. Using an instrumental variables approach that accounts for potential endogeneity problems in aid allocation, we find empirical support for our argument. We conclude that there is a potential path to democracy that ameliorates the perils of democratization, and democracy assistance programs can play a significant positive role in this process.
Link (gated I think) here
If all you ever read was the Economist, the WSJ, the Financial Times, and certain blogs you might quite easily end up concluding that there is no evidence for the efficacy of aid. And it is true that aid has it’s problems and that it could always be improved. And that there are some changes simply beyond the means of aid. Nevertheless, it is worth remembering that there is a considerable body of evidence accumulating to suggest that aid’s track record is nowhere near as dismal as its critics suggest. And that, to an extent, and particularly in certain areas, aid can help.