Trends in Democracy Assistance: What Has the United States Been Doing?

Issue Date April 2008
Volume 19
Issue 2
Page Numbers 150-159
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Using a newly constructed dataset of all U.S. expenditures in foreign assistance channeled via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from 1990 through 2005, this essay traces the growth of global democracy assistance since the end of the Cold War. It shows that what had begun as a largely regional effort in Latin America in the late 1980s has grown into a world-wide effort, expanding in magnitude and diversity, branching out into areas such as “good governance” (essentially decentralization and the fight against corruption) that were given little attention in the early 1990s.

About the Authors

Mitchell A. Seligson

Mitchell A. Seligson is Centennial Professor of Political Science and Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University. He is the director of the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP), which carries out the AmericasBarometer surveys.

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Dinorah Azpuru

Dinorah Azpuru is assistant professor of political science at Wichita State University and member of the Advisory Group of the AmericasBarometer at Vanderbilt University.

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Steven E. Finkel

Steven E. Finkel is Daniel H. Wallace Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh and professor of applied methods at the Hertie School of Governance (Berlin).

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Aníbal Pérez-Liñán

Aníbal Pérez-Liñán is professor of political science and global affairs at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author (with Scott Mainwaring) of “Cross-Currents in Latin America,” which appeared in the January 2015 issue of the Journal of Democracy.

View all work by Aníbal Pérez-Liñán