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Do Countries Use Foreign Aid to Buy Geopolitical Influence? Evidence from Donor Campaigns for Temporary UN Security Council Seats

Bernhard Reinsberg
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Bernhard Reinsberg: School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK

Politics and Governance, 2019, vol. 7, issue 2, 127-154

Abstract: In recent years, donor countries have increasingly used different aid allocation channels to boost aid effectiveness. One delivery channel that has grown tremendously is ‘multi-bi aid’—contributions to multilateral organizations earmarked for specific development purposes. This article examines whether donors use multi-bi aid to further their selfish goals—specifically, to garner political support for their ambition to become a temporary member of the UN Security Council. In this context, multi-bi aid is particularly beneficial to countries with limited experience as foreign aid donors; whose governance quality is weak; and which are more internationalized. Using a sample of OECD/DAC donor countries in 1995–2016, time-series cross-section analysis corroborates these arguments. The analysis draws on a new dataset of media reports proxying for donor interest in winning a temporary seat in the UN Security Council and extended data on multi-bi aid flows. The findings demonstrate that multi-bi aid may be a tool for geopolitical influence, with yet unexplored consequences for aid effectiveness.

Keywords: donor; interest; earmarked; funding; foreign; aid; multi-bi; aid; UN; Security; Council (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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