Foreign Aid Shocks as a Cause of Violent Armed Conflict
By Richard A. Nielsen, Michael G. Findley, Zachary S. Davis, Tara Candland, and Daniel L. Nielson
Published in American Journal of Political Science in April 2011.
In this study we resolve part of the confusion over how foreign aid affects armed conflict. We argue that aid shocks—severe decreases in aid revenues—inadvertently shift the domestic balance of power and potentially induce violence. During aid shocks, potential rebels gain bargaining strength vis-à-vis the government. To appease the rebels, the government must promise future resource transfers, but the government has no incentive to continue its promised transfers if the aid shock proves to be temporary. With the government unable to credibly commit to future resource transfers, violence breaks out. Using AidData's comprehensive dataset of bilateral and multilateral aid from 1981 to 2005, we evaluate the effects of foreign aid on violent armed conflict. In addition to rare-event logit analysis, we employ matching methods to account for the possibility that aid donors anticipate conflict. The results show that negative aid shocks significantly increase the probability of armed conflict onset.
Can Peace Be Purchased? A Sectoral-Level Analysis of Aid’s Influence on Transnational Terrorism
By Joseph K. Young and Michael Findley
Published in Public Choice in December 2011.
We examine whether foreign aid decreases terrorism, by analyzing whether aid targeted at specific sectors, such as education, is more effective than others. We use the most comprehensive databases on foreign aid and transnational terrorism, AidData and ITERATE, rather than the relatively small samples used in most previous studies, and provide a series of statistical tests. Our results indicate that foreign aid decreases terrorism especially when targeted towards sectors such as education, health, civil society, and conflict prevention. These sector-level results indicate that foreign aid can be an effective instrument in fighting terrorism, if targeted in the right ways.
World Development Special Issue: Expanding Our Understanding of Aid with a New Generation of Development Finance Information
In November 2011, World Development will publish a special journal issue featuring new research that relies upon AidData as its primary source of aid information. The special issue represents an effort to study aid allocation and aid impact with new evidence that was previously unavailable. It will feature twelve articles from scholars such as Homi Kharas from the Brookings Institution and William Easterly, author of The White Man's Burden. These articles included in the special issue explore a wide variety of topics, such as benchmarking donor transparency practices, the effectiveness of health and education assistance, and aid's impact on violent armed conflict.
Controlling Coalitions: Social Lending at the Multilateral Development Banks
By Mona Lyne, Daniel Nielson, and Michael Tierney
Published in the Review of International Organizations in December 2009. Abstract: Multilateral development banks (MDBs) dramatically increased social lending for health, education, and safety nets after 1985. Yet the great powers’ social policy preferences remained relatively static from 1980 to 2000. This contradicts the conventional view that powerful states control IOs. We argue that highly institutionalized IOs like MDBs require a complete model of possible member-state coalitions encompassing the preferences of all member states—not just major powers. We develop multiple measures of state preferences and include all member states in our coalitional model. We evaluate our model and alternatives with an analysis of more than 10,000 MDB loans from 1980 to 2000. We find that when we include all member states weighted by their voting shares, principal preferences are significantly related to lending outcomes.
AidData featured on the Cover of Environment Magazine
By J. Timmons Roberts, Bradley Parks, Michael Tierney, and Robert Hicks
AidData, formerly known as PLAID, is featured on the front cover of environment magazine. Since the first major international conference on environment and development in Stockholm in 1972, environmentalists, voters, and policymakers in the developed world have faced a vexing dilemma: with some of the richest stores of biodiversity, natural resources, and carbon located in developing countries, the greatest potential for damage to the global environment resides in places outside the sovereign control of the countries most able, financially speaking, to prevent it.
Greening Aid? Understanding the Environmental Impact of Development Assistance
By Robert L. Hicks, Bradley C. Parks, J. Timmons Roberts, and Michael J. Tierney
Every year, billions of dollars of environmental aid flow from the rich governments of the North to the poor governments of the South. Why do donors provide this aid? What do they seek to achieve? How effective is the aid given? And does it always go to the places of greatest environmental need? All of these questions and many more are addressed in this groundbreaking text, which is based on the authors' work compiling the most comprehensive dataset of foreign aid ever assembled.