UN Human Rights Shaming and Foreign Aid Allocation

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Does public condemnation or shaming of human rights abuses by the United Nations influence foreign aid delivery calculus across Western donor states? I argue that countries shamed in the United Nations Human Rights Council (formerly known as the United Nations Commission on Human Rights) encourage donor states to channel more aid via international and local non-governmental organizations. Furthermore, I find this effect to be more pronounced with increased media coverage. The findings of this paper suggest that international organizations do influence advanced democracies’ foreign policy. Moreover, the paper also finds that donor governments do not punish recipient leaders by scaling back on government-to-government aid, which is more fungible, despite public condemnations of their human rights practices owing largely to strategic concerns. These results are robust to a number of alternative data and estimation techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
JournalHuman Rights Review
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

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