Assisting democrats or resisting dictators? The nature and impact of democracy support by the United States National Endowment for Democracy, 1990-99

James M. Scott, Carie A. Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

With the advance of the 'third wave' of democratization, developed countries such as the United States have implemented explicit strategies of democracy promotion by providing assistance to governments, political parties, and other non-governmental groups and organizations through a variety of channels. This article examines one facet of US democratization and democracy assistance in the 1990s: National Endowment for Democracy aid. It draws on a dataset composed of democratization data for the developing world, assistance provided by the NED, and other control variables including growth in wealth, progress in education, and the impact of culture. The article first discusses the nature of NED assistance and then investigates the relationship between NED support and democratization in the developing world in multiple regression analyses controlling for other economic and political factors. The findings cast doubt on the effectiveness of NED grants as an instrument of democracy promotion or consolidation. At the same time they suggest a role for NED aid in weakening or resisting authoritarian regimes in advance of democratization. The conclusions assess the implications of these findings for democracy promotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-460
Number of pages22
JournalDemocratization
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • US democracy promotion
  • US National Endowment for Democracy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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