A new paper from the Journal of Political Economy analyzes an interesting phenomenon: that whenever a country becomes a temporary member of the UN Security Council (the rotating seat), U.S. foreign aid to that country increases by nearly 60%. And when the country leaves the council, aid drops off to the old level.
The paper is aptly titled, “How Much is a Seat on the Security Council Worth? Foreign Aid and Bribery at the United Nations” and in the words of Steven Levitt, “[t]he impact on aid is even larger when there are important international events (like invasions of Iraq) that put the Security Council in the spotlight.”
Anyone else recall the furor surrounding then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer’s statement to the press regarding bribery, loans and foreign aid guarantees to members of the Security Council? Remember the pressure on Mexico in exchange for a green light? How about the loan guarantee’s to Turkey (a non-member) in exchange for letting the American military use their ports and airspace?
The FAS has a good overview of the U.S. foreign aid guarantees during the build-up to the Iraq War.