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Human Rights Violations, Political Conditionality and Public Attitudes to Foreign Aid: Evidence from Survey Experiments

Hudson, J; Dasandi, N; Hudson, D; Fisher, J; (2021) Human Rights Violations, Political Conditionality and Public Attitudes to Foreign Aid: Evidence from Survey Experiments. Political Studies 10.1177/0032321720980895. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

There has been much criticism of donor governments who give aid to states that violate human rights. This has fuelled concerns about how such coverage affects public support for foreign aid. In response, donors increasingly use aid suspensions to signal to domestic audiences that a regime has been sanctioned and aid is not misspent. This article examines how reports of rights violations affect attitudes to aid and what, if any, impact donor responses have on public perceptions. We conduct survey experiments using nationally representative samples of the British public. Our findings demonstrate that reports of rights abuses reduce public support for aid. However, contrary to conventional wisdom, any response from donors, whether it be to justify continuing aid or to cut aid, prevents a decline in support. In policy terms, the findings demonstrate the importance of government responsiveness in maintaining public support for a frequently contested aspect of foreign policy.

Type: Article
Title: Human Rights Violations, Political Conditionality and Public Attitudes to Foreign Aid: Evidence from Survey Experiments
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0032321720980895
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0032321720980895
Language: English
Additional information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: foreign aid, international development, human rights, public attitudes, political conditionality
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10117149
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