Overseas Credit Claiming and Domestic Support for Foreign Aid

Dietrich, S., Hyde, S. & Winters, M. Journal of Experimental Political Science

Many foreign aid donors brand development interventions. How do citizens in the donor country react to seeing this branding in action? We test the proposition that citizens will express higher levels of support for foreign aid when they see a branded foreign aid project relative to seeing the same project without branding. We present results from a survey-based laboratory experiment conducted in the United Kingdom where subjects learned about a typical foreign aid project and received a randomized UK branding treatment. Our results suggest that the branding treatments increase the likelihood that donor country respondents believe that aid recipients can identify the source of the foreign aid. Only among conservative respondents, however, does the evidence imply that branding increases support for foreign aid. “UK aid” branding increases conservative opinion that aid dollars are well spent and increases support among this group for the expansion of foreign aid.