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.


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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