U.S. FOREIGN DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE ASSISTANCE AND LEVELS OF DEMOCRACY: A LOOK AT THE LAGGED IMPACT OF DEMOCRACY AID
Swislow, Daniel Richard
This paper looks at the relationship between U.S. foreign democracy assistance and the level of democracy within nations during the year aid was received as well as subsequent years. While numerous previous studies have looked at varying ways in which foreign democracy assistance from the U.S. increases or decreases the overall level of freedom and democracy within countries, the study will specifically test the hypothesis that aid spent during the conditions of one year may have lasting effects over subsequent years. It specifically examines whether democracy and governance assistance has lesser or greater impact in the years after it is distributed to nations, hypothesizing that the two variables have a significant, decreasing positive relationship. The study uses time-series, cross-national data from 182 countries over the course of 19 years, building on a study commissioned by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) carried out by Finkel et. al in 2008. It concludes that lagging democracy score variables did not have an effect on the results, and that there was a consistent significant and positive relationship between democracy aid and democracy itself. It also affirmed the idea that democracy, as a multi-faceted concept, must be examined by looking at a wide number of different variables, and that simple models may not be appropriate for this type of examination. During a crucial time for democracy globally, and as political debates over the continued provision of foreign aid heat up, studies of this type become more important as decisions are made over what type of aid should be provided to developing countries.
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