Working Papers

Domestic Support for Foreign Aid: Foreign Aid Allocation and Support for Foreign Aid Policies in the U.S. Congress (MA Thesis)


Abstract: In this paper, I present a theory of domestic support for foreign aid in the U.S. by focusing on the role played by U.S. aid contractors or development firms in domestic politics. USAID delivers foreign aid to recipient countries through contracts with private for-profit development firms, most of which originate from America. This paper argues that these domestic firms play a critical role in the principal-agent relationship between legislators and USAID by disseminating information. In fact, development firms have foremd a coalition to lobby politicians and promote pro-foreign aid-related bills. The information includes not just the importance of the aid assistance program but also the distributive benefits toward legislators' districts. Analyzing district-level contract data and firm-level lobby data from the 111th to the 115th Congress, I found that the district-level allocation of contracts is positively associated with the frequency of sponsorship for pro-foreign aid-related bills.


  • IPE: timeline
  • AP: Pivotal Politics