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Ideas, Interests and Foreign Aid

$27.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in International Relations

  • Date Published: October 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521264099

$ 27.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Why do countries give foreign aid? Although many countries have official development assistance programs, this book argues that no two of them see the purpose of these programs in the same way. Moreover, the way countries frame that purpose has shaped aid policy choices past and present. The author examines how Belgium long gave aid out of a sense of obligation to its former colonies, The Netherlands was more interested in pursuing international influence, Italy has focused on the reputational payoffs of aid flows and Norwegian aid has had strong humanitarian motivations since the beginning. But at no time has a single frame shaped any one country's aid policy exclusively. Instead, analyzing half a century of legislative debates on aid in these four countries, this book presents a unique picture both of cross-national and over time patterns in the salience of different aid frames and of varying aid programs that resulted.

    • Highlights the influence of ideas on foreign aid policy and explains why it has been so difficult to explain aid policy taking into account only self-interest and altruism
    • Offers a systematic cross-national and over time analysis of aid policy showing that a general model can explain many different aid policy programs, underscoring limitations of single-country or single-period studies
    • Shows that ideas can be measured empirically and systematically, therefore overcoming central weakness of many idea-based models that rely on anecdotal evidence
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "This is an innovative study of foreign aid that uses the notion of 'aid frames' to explain a country's choice of aid policy. It tries to systematically measure ideas about aid to explore the motivations for aid in four European countries, using legislative debates. The author links beliefs about a nation's identity and historical experiences to these aid frames and shows that differences in these ideas can help account for differing motivations for aid. This is an important study advancing the systematic analysis of the role of ideas in world politics."
    Helen V. Milner, Director, Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance, and B. C. Forbes Professor of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

    "Ideas, Interests and Foreign Aid is a very useful and important contribution to the literature on why governments provide aid. On the basis of several in depth case studies of European aid donors, Professor van der Veen shows the role and impact of ideas or 'frames' held by donor elites and officials in shaping why their governments provide assistance abroad and to whom they provide it. The study adds welcome depth and balance to our understanding of the complex motivations behind aid giving. A must-read for aid and development specialists and those with a general interest in the intriguing topic of foreign assistance."
    Carol J. Lancaster, Dean, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

    "Van der Veen's Ideas, Interests and Foreign Aid is a brilliant book that will influence both scholarly debates and policy practices. The book's theoretically innovative approach to conceptualizing and measuring frames serves as a valuable bridge across some of the core divides in international political economy. [This] will be the definitive account for years to come."
    Rawi Abdelal, Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

    "… a fundamental contribution to the academic debate about foreign aid."
    Damiano de Felice, European Journal of Development Research

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521264099
    • length: 310 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus. 43 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The many uses of foreign aid
    2. One policy, multiple goals: framing and foreign aid
    3. Debates about aid: contents and patterns
    4. Aid frames: origins and evolution
    5. The administration of aid policy
    6. The generosity contest: determinants of aid volume
    7. The popularity contest: selecting the recipients of aid
    8. Conclusion: frames and policy
    Appendix A. Legislative debates coded
    Appendix B. Debate coding examples
    Appendix C. Aid allocation: data and sources.

  • Author

    A. Maurits van der Veen, College of William and Mary, Virginia
    A. Maurits van der Veen received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University and is currently an Assistant Professor at the College of William and Mary. He has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Georgia. His research focuses on the impact of ideas on the making of foreign policy; in addition to foreign aid, he has written on European integration and human rights policy.

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