International Relations

Language in Congress: Domestic Constituent Influence in Foreign Aid Decisions

Authors

Abstract

There is an extensive literature on the effect of donor ideology on foreign aid allocations. However, the process through which donor ideology influences aid decisions is understudied. In my framework, legislators' application of political ideology is expanded to foreign aid agendas through interactions with domestic constituencies: development Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and private enterprises. Legislators adopt the constituencies' ideological rationale for aid and reflect the groups' aid preferences by taking on the language of those constituents. To test this argument, I applied the Structural Topic Model (STM) and Wordfish to my self-collected text data on testimonial statements given by representatives of NGOs and of firms and floor speeches of left- and right-leaning legislators relating to foreign aid in Congress. My results suggest that constituent groups have an influence on the ideological aid positions of individual legislators, which, in turn, may translate into the aid decisions of the donor country.

Content

Thumbnail image of AidCongress_EC_APSA2021.pdf

Comments

Log in or register with APSA to comment
Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] – please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .