Repression and Foreign Aid in Autocracies: Exploiting Debt Relief Negotiations in Post-Cold War Africa
Jul 2, 2016
Brett L. Carter
Carter, Brett L. 2016. Repression and Foreign Aid in Autocracies: Exploiting Debt Relief Negotiations in Post-Cold War Africa AidData Working Paper #29. Williamsburg, VA: AidData at William & Mary.
Does dependence on development aid from Western sources constrain the use of repression among autocrats? To answer this question, I employ a novel dataset of Africa’s post-Cold War autocracies in which the unit of analysis is the country-day rather than the country-year. This day-level dataset enables me to address three potential sources of bias that may obscure the relationship between Western aid dependence and repression. When the threat of financial sanction is credible, I find, Western donors have reduced the daily odds of repression in Africa’s post-Cold War autocracies. Western aid dependence is constraining even during periods of sustained popular protests. The results suggest that modern autocrats who rely on Western donors for financial support lack the easy recourse to repression enjoyed by their Cold War era predecessors.