The political economy of foreign aid flows

Li, Jie Sheng (2016). The political economy of foreign aid flows. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines the rise in bilateral aid disbursements over multilateral aid between 2000 and 2010. It would be simply stated that such a trend would be due donor nations focusing on strategic self-interests. I argue, using a combination of principal-agent theory, foreign policy analysis and the effect of institutions, that new political actors in donor nations found a window of opportunity to alter the level foreign disbursements and in several cases, increase the overall level of foreign aid. Bilateral aid eventually rose due to both the worldviews of these new decision makers as well as how their policies were influenced and shaped by local institutions. In this thesis, I focus on the US, the UK and Japan as donor nations and the World Bank’s International Development Association. In the US case, political and cultural institutions along with the worldviews Bush Administration officials shifted US bilateral aid upwards. In the UK, local institutions along with the perspectives of New Labour officials result in higher British bilateral aid disbursements. Japan’s political actors initially focused on the country’s economy but later actors, with their worldviews and shaped by historical norms, increased Japan’s bilateral aid vis-à-vis its contributions to IOs.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Government and Society, Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations


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