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European Colonial Empires and Contemporary Patterns of International Aid

16 February 2019

Bastian Becker presented on "European Colonial Empires and Contemporary Patterns of International Aid" at the Swiss Political Science Association Annual Conference & Dreiländertagung in Zürich, Switzerland.


Most contemporary nation states were, at one point or another, part of Eu- ropean colonial empires. Today, former colonial powers remain heavily in- volved in countries they once controlled, exerting influence through a variety of economic, political, and social channels. One such channel is international aid. While it is well established that donors provide significantly more aid to former colonies than other countries, little is known about how the colonial models these donors once employed manifest in contemporary patterns of aid. In this chapter, I explore how colonial models, especially indirect rule in the British empire and centralization and assimilation strategies in the French empire, affect (1) policy priorities in aid, in particular social protec- tion, and (2) what actors are involved in the distribution of aid. To do so, I rely on a new data set by the OECD that allows for a more disaggregated analysis of aid flows than data used in earlier studies. While this chapter offers first evidence on colonial legacies in contemporary international aid, it also finds divergences from colonial models. Explaining both is an important task for further research

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