EVENT: On Wednesday, February 21st, the Center for Universal Education at Brookings and AidData will co-host a presentation and panel discussion on Toward data-driven education systems: What information do education leaders want and need?, with Samantha Custer (AidData), Elizabeth King (Brookings), Tamar Manuelyan Atinc (Brookings), Shaida Badiee (Open Data Watch), Deon Filmer (World Bank), Liesbet Steer (Education Commission), and Nathaniel Heller (Results for Development). A recording will be made available online after the event. RSVP via Brookings or follow the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #data4education.

AidData Working Paper

Elite and Mass Support for Foreign Aid Versus Government Programs: Experimental Evidence from Uganda

Date Published

May 1, 2016

Authors

Michael G. Findley, Adam S. Harris, Helen V. Milner, Daniel Nielson

Publisher

Citation

Findley, Michael G., Adam S. Harris, Helen V. Milner, and Daniel Nielson. 2016. Elite and Mass Support for Foreign Aid Versus Government Programs: Experimental Evidence from Uganda. AidData Working Paper #23. Williamsburg, VA: AidData. Accessed at http://aiddata.org/working-papers.

AidData Working Paper

Elite and Mass Support for Foreign Aid Versus Government Programs: Experimental Evidence from Uganda

Date Published

May 1, 2016

Authors

Michael G. Findley, Adam S. Harris, Helen V. Milner, Daniel Nielson

Citation

Findley, Michael G., Adam S. Harris, Helen V. Milner, and Daniel Nielson. 2016. Elite and Mass Support for Foreign Aid Versus Government Programs: Experimental Evidence from Uganda. AidData Working Paper #23. Williamsburg, VA: AidData. Accessed at http://aiddata.org/working-papers.

Does foreign aid enable or constrain elite capture of public revenues? Building on prominent debates in the foreign aid literature, we examine whether recipient preferences are consistent with a view – called here donor control theory – that foreign donors wield substantial control over the flow of aid dollars, making elite capture more difficult and mass benefits more likely. We compare elite and mass support for foreign aid versus government spending on development projects through a survey experiment with behavioral outcomes on members of the Ugandan national parliament and a representative sample of Ugandan citizens. For two actual aid projects, we randomly assigned different funders to the projects. Significant treatment effects reveal that members of parliament support government programs over foreign aid, whereas citizens prefer aid over government. Donor control theory also implies that citizens should favor foreign aid more and elites less as their perceptions of government clientelism and corruption increase. We explore this and report on other alternative mechanisms. Effects for citizens and elites are most apparent for those perceiving significant government corruption, supporting donor control theory.

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