Hidden Strings Attached? Chinese (Commercially-oriented) Foreign Aid and International Political Alignment
Does Chinese foreign aid buy votes in the UN General Assembly and if so how? Journal article published in Foreign Policy Analysis (Oxford University Press).
We focus on the effect of China’s commercially-oriented foreign aid, the dominant form of Chinese aid, which the literature has shown to be driven by economic considerations.
Even though China emphasizes the principle of ‘non-interference’ in domestic affairs, we expect Chinese aid to come with ‘hidden strings’ attached.
We find that Chinese commercial aid flows lead to recipients’ foreign policy alignment with China.
We further find this effect to be conditional on regime type: democracies strongly align with China in response to such flows while autocracies do not respond so.
Our results suggest that China’s foreign aid yields political influence, but in a way that differs from other donors.