Aid & Human Rights Decoupling

The latest article from my Developing Conformity research project has been published in The Sociological Quarterly. Co-authored with Dr. Qian Wei, the article examines the relationship of bilateral foreign aid flows to human rights decoupling in aid-receiving countries.

ABSTRACT

Despite extensive literature examining human rights decoupling between treaty commitments and practices, little research has addressed how to fill these empty promises. This paper proposes a mechanism neglected in prior studies that might play an important role in narrowing human rights decoupling and improving world society model compliance: foreign aid. Using longitudinal analysis on a sample of 120 aid-receiving countries between 1981 and 2011, we find: total aid has a significant effect on reducing human rights decoupling; aid to good governance shows a similar pattern but the impact is much weaker; by contrast, aid to human rights has limited influence.

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Foreign Aid & the Rule of Law

Andrew Dawson (York University, Glendon Campus) and I have published the latest article from the Developing Conformity project in the British Journal of Sociology. The article is available to all via open access.

This article uses a World Society theory framework to test the effects of foreign aid on both the diffusion of rule of law reforms and the implementation of the rule of law in low- and middle-income aid-receiving countries. Access the article here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1468-4446.12752

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the role of bilateral foreign aid in supporting the diffusion and enactment of common models and institutions of the rule of law among aid‐recipient low‐ and middle‐income countries. We ask whether aid targeted at security‐sector reform and the rule of law influences the adoption of constitutional and legal reforms over time (institutional diffusion), and whether aid also supports more effective implementation of the rule of law, writ large (legal reach). We use event history and fixed‐effects panel regression models to examine a sample of 154 countries between 1995 and 2013 to answer these questions. Our findings suggest that aid does increase the likelihood of adopting several rule of law reforms, but its effect on increasing the depth or quality of rule of law over time within countries is much less substantial. These findings suggest that though aid may play a role in supporting the diffusion of models contributing to state isomorphism among countries, it is less effective at increasing the pervasiveness and quality of such model’s implementation. This discrepancy between the effectiveness of bilateral aid in promoting law on the books versus law in action in aid recipient countries calls into question the current approach to rule of law reforms.

Aid and Maternal Mortality

A Working Paper by Emmanuel Banchani and I on the effects of foreign aid on infant mortality levels over time has been published by UNU-WIDER.

An article version of the paper is forthcoming in a special issue of Politics & Governance on “Aid Impact and Effectiveness”, edited by Rachel M. Gisselquist and Finn Tarp (UNU-WIDER, Finland).

The paper is available for download here: https://www.wider.unu.edu/publication/impact-foreign-aid-maternal-mortality

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Donor Proliferation to What Ends?

The academic article version of mine and Nilima Gulrajani’s earlier ODI Report is now available ahead of print in CASID’s Canadian Journal of Development Studies:

“Donor proliferation to what ends? New donor countries and the search for legitimacy”

https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/PKTWRzyz6a7dKYd6NMjB/full

Abstract:

Despite aid fatigue in the Global North, the number of donor states continues to grow. This article examines the motivations and performance of New Donor Countries (NDCs). Drawing on theories of norm diffusion, we argue that an important driver is new donors’ search for legitimacy as advanced and influential states. A comparison of 26 NDCs with established donors on three metrics of aid levels and quality reveals that NDCs may be adopting the form but not the associated functions and responsibilities of traditional donors. While NDCs are contributing to the viability of global development cooperation, vigilance is required to preserve its robustness.