PIPE - papers on international political economy ; 7
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Political scientists have long been interested in the rationale behind giving official development assistance (ODA). With a few notable exceptions, scholars have neglected the impact of governing parties of differ-ent provenience on a donor country’s foreign aid policy. In order to address this shortcoming, this paper focuses on the change of government from conservative (‚right‘) to social democratic (‚left‘) parties in Sweden (1994) and the United Kingdom (1997). The results contradict and qualify much of the conven-tional wisdom on the allegedly more benign foreign aid policy of social democratic parties. The paper reveals instead that the Swedish and British foreign aid policies of the 1990s share an interesting pattern: Social democrats tend to display a rhetoric that is more attuned to the idea of solidarity than the conserva-tive foreign aid agenda, but in neither case does this tendency translate into a higher degree of solidarity as measured by five quantitative measures. On the contrary, conservative ODA actions speak louder than their words suggest, expressing at least as much, if not more, solidarity than their social democratic rivals.
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