Triage for Democracy: Selection Effects in Governance Aid, a Lecture by Joseph Young (Updated 10/31/13)
Does Foreign Aid targeted for improving governance promote democracy? There are good reasons to be skeptical of the efficacy of aid for any purpose, including governance. We argue here that some governance aid, however, may work as intended. That is, donors perform a kind of development finance "triage" to select the recipients that seem most able to enact democratization reforms; donors then provide governance aid mainly in those most-likely cases. We test this argument using our new AidData information base, which adds more than fifty donors and nearly $2 trillion to the well-known total of $2.3 trillion in development finance since 1945. Additionally, we use multiple imputation to create a near complete set of observations from 1980 to 2011. We employ a new pooled time-series technique of propensity matching to control for selection effects.