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

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

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


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


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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

Published:   5 June 2019


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v7i2.1837


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