Do Negative Foreign Aid Shocks Worsen Respect for Human Rights? Open Access

Bashman, Samuel Eliot (2017)

Permanent URL:


In this study, I examine the effects of negative foreign aid shocks, large sudden decreases in aid revenue, on the respect for human rights in recipient countries. According to the dependency theory argument, leaders in nations that receive foreign aid use aid revenues to help cement their power. Therefore, when a large amount of foreign aid is lost in these nations, this theory would predict that leaders in these nations would see a decrease in their capability to control elites in their society and their general populace. As a result, leaders in these nations would use other methods to cement their control such as increasing repressive activities. In order to examine this relationship, I ran a multivariate regression analysis using data on 154 countries from 1981 to 2011. This analysis drew data from the OECD's dataset on foreign aid and on physical integrity scores and empowerment scores for human rights from the CIRI Human Rights Dataset. These tests revealed no significant relationship between negative foreign aid shocks and physical integrity rights. However, these tests did reveal a significant relationship between negative aid shocks and empowerment rights and found that these two variables were positively correlated. Therefore, these results indicate that leaders either increase their respect for human rights after negative aid shock in an attempt to attract donors or that they increase respect for empowerment rights in order to disincentivize the general populace from protesting.

Table of Contents

Introduction: 1 Literature Review: 2 Theory: 8

Hypothesis: 11

Data and Methods: 12

Results and Analysis: 18

Conclusion: 30

Figures and Tables: 32

Works Cited: 36

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files