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Compassionate conservatives or conservative compassionates? US political parties and bilateral foreign assistance to Africa


  • Markus Goldstein
  • Todd Moss


Conventional wisdom about US foreign policy towards Africa contains two popular assumptions. First, Democrats are widely considered the party most inclined to care about Africa and the most willing to spend resources on assistance to the continent. Second, the end of the Cold War was widely thought to have led to a gradual disengagement of the US from Africa and reduced American attention toward the continent. This article analyses data on US foreign assistance flows from 1961 - 2000 and finds that neither of these assumptions is true. Rather, we find that the configuration of party control over Congress and the Presidency matters significantly, with aid to Africa substantially reduced when the two branches are in opposition.

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Goldstein & Todd Moss, 2005. "Compassionate conservatives or conservative compassionates? US political parties and bilateral foreign assistance to Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(7), pages 1288-1302.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:41:y:2005:i:7:p:1288-1302
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380500170949

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    Cited by:

    1. Brech, Viktor & Potrafke, Niklas, 2014. "Donor ideology and types of foreign aid," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 61-75.
    2. Fleck, Robert K. & Kilby, Christopher, 2010. "Changing aid regimes? U.S. foreign aid from the Cold War to the War on Terror," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 185-197, March.
    3. Helen V. Milner & Dustin H. Tingley, 2010. "The Political Economy Of U.S. Foreign Aid: American Legislators And The Domestic Politics Of Aid," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(2), pages 200-232, July.
    4. Lskavyan, Vahe, 2014. "Donor–recipient ideological differences and economic aid," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(3), pages 345-347.
    5. Vasudha Chhotray, 2006. "Contrasting visions for aid and governance in the 21st century: the White House Millennium Challenge Account and DFID`s Drivers of Change," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-062, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    6. Chhotray, Vasudha & Hulme, David, 2009. "Contrasting Visions for Aid and Governance in the 21st Century: The White House Millennium Challenge Account and DFID's Drivers of Change," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 36-49, January.
    7. Axel Dreher & Peter Nunnenkamp & Maya Schmaljohann, 2015. "The Allocation of German Aid: Self-interest and Government Ideology," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(1), pages 160-184, March.
    8. Anna Minasyan, 2016. "US Aid, US educated Leaders and Economic Ideology," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 215, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    9. 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.

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