Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics

Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics

Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics

Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics

Synopsis

A twentieth-century innovation, foreign aid has become a familiar and even expected element in international relations. But scholars and government officials continue to debate why countries provide it: some claim that it is primarily a tool of diplomacy, some argue that it is largely intended to support development in poor countries, and still others point out its myriad newer uses. Carol Lancaster effectively puts this dispute to rest here by providing the most comprehensive answer yet to the question of why governments give foreign aid. She argues that because of domestic politics in aid-giving countries, it has always been- and will continue to be- used to achieve a mixture of different goals.

Drawing on her expertise in both comparative politics and international relations and on her experience as a former public official, Lancaster provides five in-depth case studies- the United States, Japan, France, Germany, and Denmark- that demonstrate how domestic politics and international pressures combine to shape how and why donor governments give aid. In doing so, she explores the impact on foreign aid of political institutions, interest groups, and the ways governments organize their giving. Her findings provide essential insight for scholars of international relations and comparative politics, as well as anyone involved with foreign aid or foreign policy.

Excerpt

The question this book asks is “Why is aid given?” The question may seem odd since, after a half century of aid-giving, aid is a familiar and expected element in relations between states. And yet, in the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first century, foreign aid is much in the news. After major declines during the 1990s, aid levels are again rising. Aid's purposes are still debated, but development aid—apparently headed for extinction in the 1990s—is making an impressive comeback.

“Why is aid given?” is actually two questions. What purposes did governments pursue with their aid? And why did they choose those purposes and not others? The first question remains an important one, but it is not new. It has been asked since the origins of aid-giving in the middle of the twentieth century. Scholars and practitioners have debated whether it was or should be provided for primarily diplomatic purposes—advancing the national security and economic interests of the donor country—or whether it was or should be provided mainly to help better the human condition in countries receiving the aid. This book describes the evolution of aid's purposes over the fifty years of aid-giving. But it goes beyond narrative to dig into the second question of why governments have pursued the mix of purposes they have with aid—whether diplomatic, developmental, relief, commercial, cultural, or others. International events, trends, and pressures are important in answering this question, but they are far from enough. To answer the question, we need to understand the often neglected domestic politics of aid in aid-giving countries—the widely shared ideas and norms shaping aid-giving, the political institutions in which aid decisions are made, the interests competing for influence over aid's purposes, and the organization of governments to manage their aid. This book compares these forces at work in five countries: the United States, Japan, France, Germany, and Denmark. Each has a separate and interesting tale to tell about the in-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.