Foreign aid allocation tactics and democratic change in Africa

Simone Dietrich, Joseph Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Over the past two decades, donors increasingly link foreign aid to democracy objectives in Africa. This study investigates whether and how foreign aid influences specific outcomes associated with democratic transition and consolidation. Using an instrumental variables approach for the period from 1989 to 2008, we show that economic aid increases the likelihood of transition to multiparty politics, while democracy aid furthers democratic consolidation by reducing the incidence of multiparty failure and electoral misconduct. However, we find little evidence that either economic or democracy aid influences opposition support in multiparty elections. These findings have implications for understanding how donors allocate aid and the political consequences of foreign assistance in Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-234
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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