Foreign Aid & Shared Organizational Ties

The advance copy of my latest article has been published by Social Forces. Co-authored with Wes Longhofer from Emory University, this study examines the influence of countries’ shared organizational memberships in international NGOs and inter-governmental organizations on whether and how much foreign aid flows between a donor and recipient country over time.  We find that countries with more shared ties have a higher likelihood of maintaining aid relationships, and that in the lowest-income countries more shared ties are associated  with more aid.

Click below to access the article on the Social Forces site:



Foreign Aid and the World Society

Much of my research examines the role foreign aid plays in processes of globalization and the spread of norms and institutions. In particular I have been fascinated for the past decade with how aid functions as a part of what has come to be known as World Society.  I have put some of my thoughts on this subject into a review essay that will appear eventually in Sociology Compass. A draft of that article is available below or on my research website.


The final version of this article has now been published at Sociology Compass (see:

Download (PDF, 98KB)

Global Aid Network redux

My last nwmovie test using the full 51 years of OECD aid network data I  collected for my SSHRC-funded project “The Institutionalization of the Global Foreign Aid Network 1960-2008”.  Nodes are sized by in- and outdegree centrality for donors (red) and recipients (blue) respectively, though on different scales.  The process of visualizing and rendering the animated GIF takes a couple of hours on my desktop machine.  I look forward to working through the other nwcommands tools over the next while to  make the most of its tools.


Canada’s Bilateral Aid Network over Time

Following on my recent post on visualizing the global aid network using the nwcommands package in Stata, I thought I would try my luck at another animated visualization of Canada’s ‘ego network’ of aid ties from 1960 through 2010.  I managed to achieve the sizing of nodes by USD value of aid ties over time for recipient countries, which shows how concentrated Canadian aid was in given periods in just a few countries, though we maintained nominal ties with many others.  The animation of a single ego-network seems less smooth than my earlier attempt at the global network, and I was unable to resolve that issue despite several attempts.  In any case, another interesting illustration of the evolution of Canada’s aid network over time as it becomes increasing dense over the course of the five decades shown.



Global Aid Network Visualization: nwmovie in Stata

I’ve been exploring Thomas Grund‘s excellent nwcommands package for Stata with the 50 years of aid network data collected from the OECD DAC. It appears to have many functionalities that appeal to the existing Stata user who wants to do SNA and also seems to incorporate some good tools to deal with longitudinal networks.  One interesting function is its nwmovie command which will animate sociogram visualizations of networks over time.  I tested this with an excerpt from my longitudinal aid network data and arrived at the GIF below as a result.


Because it seems to only function with networks of identical size, I limited the sample to the period from 2002-2010, where each year in of my network data has 216 nodes including bilateral donors, major multilateral donors, and recipients.  I labelled each node and tried to differentiate nodes based on degree centrality (node size), and donor/recipient status (colour/symbol).  I am pretty sure the final result is only showing the degree centrality for 2010, and although the colour reflects the mode status of my 2-mode network, the symbol does not.  I will need to play with the syntax further to refine future versions.

As an analytic tool, the network density combined with the size/speed of the image makes it tricky to examine the evolving network in detail, but it is interesting to see countries/multilateral donor agencies move in and out of the ‘isolates’ in the bottom right hand corner.  The creation of the Global Fund and GAVI are two notable movements you can see here, as well as the integration of several ‘new’ bilateral donors like Thailand.  Overall, an interesting tool. It is not going to show up on the pages of a printed journal article anytime soon, but very interesting to see the potential for visualizing the global aid network in this way.  I look forward to exploring this tool and the rest of the nwcommands package over the course of the next few months.


Update: I have posted another test of this script looking at Canada’s evolving aid ego-network.

Update 2: I have posted an updated version of the global network that encompasses 1960-2010.