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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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Abstract

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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  • Fleck, Robert K. & Kilby, Christopher & Fleck, Robert K., 1998. "Foreign Aid and Domestic Politics: Voting in Congress and the Allocation of USAID Contracts Across Congressional Districts," Vassar College Department of Economics Working Paper Series 44, Vassar College Department of Economics, revised Dec 1999.
  • Handle: RePEc:vas:papers:44
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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. 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, May.
    4. Niklas Potrafke, 2009. "Does government ideology influence political alignment with the U.S.? An empirical analysis of voting in the UN General Assembly," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 245-268, September.
    5. Alessandro De Matteis, 2016. "Whose poverty really matters when deciding aid volumes?," International Journal of Public Policy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 12(1/2), pages 28-53.
    6. 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.
    7. Robert K. Fleck & Christopher Kilby, 2006. "How Do Political Changes Influence US Bilateral Aid Allocations? Evidence from Panel Data," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 210-223, May.
    8. Redlin, Margarete & Gries, Thomas & Meierrieks, Daniel, 2014. "Oppressive Governments, US Closeness, and Anti-US Terrorism," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100588, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    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.
    10. 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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