Foreign Aid as an Influence on Foreign Public Opinion
Countries have some ability to make other countries more likely to cooperate. Strategically, one way that this can be done is through building up a resource of what Joseph Nye calls “soft power.” In the summer of 2017, I conducted interviews around these topics in Ecuador, and came to the conclusion that monetary flowsremittances, inflows of monetary aid, importscan help to build up a resource of soft power that can influence the attitudes that foreign publics have about donor countries, possibly despite a detrimental colonial experience. In this paper I build upon this idea, that monetary flows can build up a resource of soft power, by using public opinion data. I study whether foreign aid is associated with variation in foreign public opinion of a donor country. Using Vanderbilt’s Latin American Public Opinion Poll (LAPOP) data, I study public attitude towards a donor country, the United States, and see how foreign public attitude varies with the most common measure of foreign aid, the Official Development Assistance (ODA) presented by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). I expect to find that despite a history of unwelcomed military incursions, the U.S. is able to influence foreign public attitudes based on foreign aid disbursement.