How does Chinese aid interact with level of democracy in poor countries?

Past research has shown that 'though aid [from wealthier, mostly Western democracies] does not affect quality of life in the aggregate, it is effective when combined with democracy, and ineffective (and possibly harmful) in autocracies' [Kosack, 2003]. So does the effect of Chinese aid/finance to poorer countries follow this pattern? In other words, does the institutional incongruence effect also hold for autocratic donors?

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Abstract

Chinese “aid” is a lightning rod for criticism. Policy-makers, journalists, and public intellectuals claim that Beijing uses its largesse to cement alliances with political leaders, secure access to natural resources, and create exclusive commercial opportunities for Chinese firms—all at the expense of citizens living in developing countries. We argue that much of the controversy about Chinese “aid” stems from a failure to distinguish between China's Official Development Assistance (ODA) and more commercially oriented sources and types of state financing. Using a new database on China's official financing commitments to Africa from 2000 to 2013, we find that the allocation of Chinese ODA is driven primarily by foreign policy considerations, while economic interests better explain the distribution of less concessional flows. These results highlight the need for better measures of an increasingly diverse set of non-Western financial activities.

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