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Foreign Aid and Domestic Politics: Voting in Congress and the Allocation of USAID Contracts Across Congressional Districts

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This paper investigates the relationship between congressional support for foreign aid and the distribution of USAID contract spending across congressional districts within the United States. The extent to which such a relationship matters has become increasingly important in recent years, as the end of the Cold War and the advent of the Republican-controlled Congress have eroded the traditional base of support for foreign aid. We develop a model to illustrate how the distribution of contract spending could be used to increase support for foreign aid, but at the expense of development impact, in effect trading quality for quantity. Data on domestic foreign aid contract spending and votes in the 104th Congress House of Representatives allow us to test if the geographic distribution of USAID contract spending within the United States is consistent with a systematic attempt to build support for foreign aid in Congress. Econometric results provide little evidence of such attempts, apparently because voting on this issue is insensitive to the distribution of contract spending.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Vassar College Department of Economics in its series Vassar College Department of Economics Working Paper Series with number 44.

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Date of creation: Jun 1998
Date of revision: Dec 1999
Publication status: Published in Southern Economic Journal, January 2001, 67(3):598-617.
Handle: RePEc:vas:papers:44

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Cited by:
  1. Robert K. Fleck & Christopher Kilby, 2006. "World Bank Independence: A Model and Statistical Analysis of US Influence," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 224-240, 05.
  2. Brech, Viktor & Potrafke, Niklas, 2013. "Donor ideology and types of foreign aid," Munich Reprints in Economics 20229, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Robert K. Fleck & Christopher Kilby, 2009. "Changing Aid Regimes? U.S. Foreign Aid from the Cold War to the War on Terror," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 1, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.
  4. Bernhard Boockmann & Axel Dreher, 2011. "Do human rights offenders oppose human rights resolutions in the United Nations?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(3), pages 443-467, March.
  5. Tingley, Dustin, 2010. "Donors and domestic politics: Political influences on foreign aid effort," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 40-49, February.
  6. Potrafke, Niklas, 2009. "Does government ideology influence political alignment with the U.S.? An empirical analysis of voting in the UN General Assembly," Munich Reprints in Economics 19285, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. Fleck, Robert K. & Kilby, Christopher, 2005. "How Do Political Changes Influence U.S. Bilateral Aid Allocations? Evidence from Panel Data," Vassar College Department of Economics Working Paper Series 67, Vassar College Department of Economics.
  8. Axel Dreher & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2012. "Do the IMF and the World Bank influence voting in the UN General Assembly?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 363-397, April.

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