Foreign Aid Programs Can Boost Public Perceptions Of Donor Countries

Washington Post: Doing well by doing good: foreign aid improves opinions of the U.S.
Benjamin Goldsmith of the University of Sydney; Yusaku Horiuchi of Dartmouth College; and Terence Wood of Australia National University

“…A fundamental question … is whether helping the poor in recipient countries and bringing benefits to donor countries are ever compatible. In our recently published article in the Quarterly Journal of Political Science, we argue that they are indeed compatible when the benefit sought is enhanced international standing of the donor country, at least for certain types of aid programs. … [W]e show that a United States aid program specifically targeted to address the problems of HIV and AIDS — the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) — has improved perceptions of the United States among the public in recipient countries. … [O]ur theory is that in addition to its potential humanitarian benefits, a foreign aid program that is targeted, sustained, (perceived to be) effective, and visible can serve an important strategic goal for those countries that give it: fostering positive perceptions among foreign publics…” (4/14).

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