With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies? Aiding the World's Worst Dictators

July 1, 2009

By 2007, the developed countries had given the world’s worst dictators $105 billion in development assistance, but that “investment” had yielded zero return in terms of meaningful economic, social, or political progress. The notion that government-to-government aid can buy a liberal society appears to be little more than wishful thinking.

Read the article at the Independent Review.

Citation (Chicago Style)

Coyne, Christopher and Matt E. Ryan. "With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies? Aiding the World's Worst Dictators." The Independent Review 14, no. 1 (Summer 2009): 26-44.

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies? Aiding the World's Worst Dictators - Working Paper

September, 2008

Despite rhetoric supporting liberal values and institutions, the governments of developed countries provide continued development and military assistance to the world's worst dictators.  This aid sustains the status quo and imposes significant costs on ordinary citizens.  This paper reviews the foreign aid provided to the worst living dictators.  We consider arguments for the continued provision of aid as well as reasons why aid fails to improve the situations in countries ruled by these dictators.  The main conclusion is that if the goal of developed countries is to foster liberal economic, political and social institutions abroad, they should cease providing aid to the world's worst dictators.

Foreign Intervention and Global Public Bads

July, 2008

A growing literature focuses on the “global public goods” generated by foreign interventions.  Global public goods have traditional public good characteristics, but their benefits extend across societies and regions.  We analyze how well-intentioned foreign interventions to provide global public goods can also result in global public bads.  These bads emerge through the dynamics of unintended consequences resulting from knowledge constraints on policymakers designing interventions.  Case studies of foreign interventions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are provided as evidence.  The main conclusion is one of humility regarding foreign interventions to provide global public goods.