The power of democratic stock : recent democracy protests on foreign aid disbursements




Sanderson, Mackenzie Elizabeth

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This paper focuses on democracy protests in developing countries and how they affect total and USAID foreign aid disbursements. I hypothesize that democratic donor countries decrease foreign aid to recipient countries after a democracy protest because the democracy protests signal that the country is politically unstable and experiencing democratic backsliding. However, opposed to my original hypotheses, the findings in this paper lend evidence to support the idea that a democracy protest is associated with an increase in foreign aid disbursements. For total foreign aid disbursements, these increases occur in the first two years after a democracy protest. USAID disbursements increase three to five years after a democracy protest, but this increase is dependent on the level of democratic stock in the recipient country. This signals that donors may have varying motivations when a democracy protest occurs. For some, stability, no matter the domestic politics of the recipient country motivates an increase in disbursements. For other countries, like the United States, democracy promotion remains at the center of foreign aid decisions.


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