Democracy promotion emerged as a US foreign policy priority during the late 20th century, especially after the Cold War. Scarce resources, however, require policymakers to make difficult choices about which countries should receive democracy aid and which ones should not. Previous studies indicate that a variety of factors shape democracy aid allocations, including donor strategic interests and democratic openings within potential recipient states. Research has also shown that media coverage plays a significant role in these decisions. We model the conditional effects of media attention and regime shifts on US democracy aid decisions, controlling for other recipient and donor variables. We argue that these factors are contingent on the salience, in terms of broad interest profiles, of a particular country for policymakers. The donor’s overall level of interest in a potential recipient systematically shapes the effects of media attention on democracy assistance. Broadly speaking, low-interest conditions elevate the agenda-setting impact of media attention and regime conditions/shifts while highinterest conditions reduce that effect. To assess these contingent relationships, we examine US democracy aid from 1975-2010.
- Democracy aid
- Foreign policy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations