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Human rights shaming through INGOs and foreign aid delivery

Simone Dietrich () and Amanda Murdie ()
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Simone Dietrich: University of Essex
Amanda Murdie: University of Missouri

The Review of International Organizations, 2017, vol. 12, issue 1, 95-120

Abstract: Abstract Does the “shaming” of human rights violations influence foreign aid delivery decisions across OECD donor countries? We examine the effect of shaming, defined as targeted negative attention by human rights international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs), on donor decisions about how to deliver bilateral aid. We argue that INGO shaming of recipient countries leads donor governments, on average, to “bypass” the recipient government in favor of non-state aid delivery channels, including international and local NGOs and international organizations (IOs). However, we expect this relationship to be conditional on a donor country’s position in the international system. Minor power countries have limited influence in global affairs and are therefore more able to centrally promote human rights in their foreign policy. Major power countries, on the other hand, shape world politics and often confront “realpolitik” concerns that may require government-to-government aid relations in the presence of INGO shaming. We thus expect aid officials of minor donor countries to be more likely to condition aid delivery decisions on human rights shaming than their counterparts of major donor countries. Using compositional data analysis, we test our argument using originally collected data on human rights shaming events and an originally constructed measure of bilateral aid delivery in a time-series cross-sectional framework from 2004 to 2010. We find support for our hypotheses: On average, OECD donor governments increase the proportion of bypass when INGOs shame the recipient government. When differentiating between donor types we find that this finding holds for minor but not for major powers. These results add to both our understanding of the influences of aid allocation decision-making and our understanding of the role of INGOs on foreign-policy.

Keywords: Foreign aid; Human rights; Foreign policy; International non-governmental organizations; International organizations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C1 F3 F5 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:spr:revint:v:12:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11558-015-9242-8