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The choice for multilateralism: Foreign aid and American foreign policy

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  • Helen Milner

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  • Dustin Tingley

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Abstract

Why do governments choose multilateralism? We examine a principal-agent model in which states trade some control over the policy for greater burden sharing. The theory generates observable hypotheses regarding the reasons for and the patterns of support and opposition to multilateralism. To focus our study, we analyze support for bilateral and multilateral foreign aid giving in the US. Using new survey data, we provide evidence about the correlates of public and elite support for multilateral engagement. We find weak support for multilateralism and deep partisan divisions. Reflecting elite discourse, public opinion divides over two competing rationales—burden sharing and control—when faced with the choice between multilateral and bilateral aid channels. As domestic groups’ preferences over aid policy diverge from those of the multilateral institution, maintaining control over aid policy becomes more salient and support for multilateralism falls. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Helen Milner & Dustin Tingley, 2013. "The choice for multilateralism: Foreign aid and American foreign policy," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 313-341, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:revint:v:8:y:2013:i:3:p:313-341 DOI: 10.1007/s11558-012-9153-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michaelowa, Axel & Michaelowa, Katharina, 2011. "Coding Error or Statistical Embellishment? The Political Economy of Reporting Climate Aid," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(11), pages 2010-2020.
    2. Heinrich, Tobias & Kobayashi, Yoshiharu & Bryant, Kristin A., 2016. "Public Opinion and Foreign Aid Cuts in Economic Crises," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 66-79.
    3. Dukhong Kim, 2013. "Beliefs in Foreign Policy Goals and American Citizens' Support for Foreign Aid," European Journal of Economic and Political Studies, Fatih University, vol. 6(1), pages 41-70.
    4. Reinsberg,Bernhard Wilfried & Michaelowa,Katharina & Knack,Stephen, 2015. "Which donors, which funds ? the choice of multilateral funds by bilateral donors at the World Bank," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7441, The World Bank.
    5. Danny Kurban & Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "Zum Einfluss von Regierungsideologie in Geberländern auf die Verteilung von Entwicklungshilfe," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 66(14), pages 30-34, July.
    6. Axel Dreher & Jan-Egbert Sturm & James Raymond Vreeland, 2015. "Politics and IMF Conditionality," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), pages 120-148.
    7. Axel Dreher & Katharina Michaelowa, 2008. "The political economy of international organizations," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, pages 331-334.
    8. Sarah Sunn Bush, 2016. "When and why is civil society support “made-in-America”? Delegation to non-state actors in American democracy promotion," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, pages 361-385.
    9. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Miquel-Florensa, Josepa, 2015. "Taxing Fragmented Aid to Improve Aid Efficiency," CEPR Discussion Papers 10802, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Axel Dreher & Valentin F. Lang & Sebastian Ziaja, 2017. "Foreign Aid in Areas of Limited Statehood," CESifo Working Paper Series 6340, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. repec:spr:revint:v:12:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11558-016-9261-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Axel Dreher & Jan-Egbert Sturm & James Raymond Vreeland, 2015. "Politics and IMF Conditionality," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), pages 120-148.
    13. Aurelie Slechten & Vincenzo Verardi, 2014. "Assessing the effectiveness of global air-pollution treaties on CO2 emissions," Working Papers 64981625, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    International institutions; Multilateralism; Domestic politics; Public opinion; Foreign aid; F35; F55; F59;

    JEL classification:

    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • F55 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Institutional Arrangements
    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other

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