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Do Human Rights Matter in Bilateral Aid Allocation? A Quantitative Analysis of 21 Donor Countries


  • Eric Neumayer


Objective. To analyze the role of human rights in aid allocation of 21 donor countries. Methods. Econometric analysis is applied to a panel covering the period 1985 to 1997. Results. Respect for civil/political rights plays a statistically significant role for most donors at the aid eligibility stage. Personal integrity rights, on the other hand, have a positive impact on aid eligibility for few donors only. At the level stage, most donors fail to promote respect for human rights in a consistent manner and often give more aid to countries with a poor record on either civil/political or personal integrity rights. No systematic difference is apparent between the like‐minded countries commonly regarded as committed to human rights (Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden) and the other donors. Conclusions. Contrary to their verbal commitment, donor countries do not consistently reward respect for human rights in their foreign aid allocation.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Neumayer, 2003. "Do Human Rights Matter in Bilateral Aid Allocation? A Quantitative Analysis of 21 Donor Countries," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 84(3), pages 650-666, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:socsci:v:84:y:2003:i:3:p:650-666
    DOI: 10.1111/1540-6237.8403010

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