Modern Political Science
Ruslan Ulizskiy (MPF 151)
Essay on methodology used in the article
“The Effects of U.S. Foreign Assistance on Democracy Building, 1990-2003”
(Steven E. Finkel, Aníbal Pérez-Liñán and Mitchell A. Seligson)
The article “The Effects of U.S. Foreign Assistance on Democracy Building, 1990-2003” was written by Steven E. Finkel, Aníbal Pérez-Liñán and Mitchell A. Seligson and published in World Politics (Vol. 59, No. 3) in 2007. The research was focused on the effectiveness of democracy promotion programs by United States.
The aim of this article is to make the first detailed investigation into the U.S. contribution to democratization worldwide between ...view middle of the document...
This paper has a number of methodological strengths. There is a variety of statistical procedures to control for other known impacts on democratization such as economic growth, regional diffusion and so on. To that purpose hierarchical growth models were used to enable the evaluation of USAID effects controlling for the specific trend in democratic development for each country over time, while econometric panel models that include controls for the possible endogeneity of democracy promotion. Also, separation of USAID obligations in the democracy sector from house in other areas allows author to avoid issues of endogeneity. Including controls for variables potentially affecting both the distribution of funds by U.S. policymakers and the democratic outcomes themselves allows to show the real influence of democracy promotion programs.
There are some methodological imperfections in that article. It is difficult to emphasize real microfoundations of indirect democracy assistance effects. Such difficulties results from a problem with correct evaluation of the influence of both USAID DG programs and other forms of democratization support intended to produce structural transformations. Such transformations can “operate on regime change cumulatively and over the long run” in the form of social and economic development. But in the short and medium ran this...