//This report is part of a series of three reports. The others are: 2021:3 Mapping Approaches to Democratization Assessment and 2021:4 Evaluability Study of Sida’s Approach to Democratization in Different Contexts// This report presents the findings of the first mapping exercise that researches the frontier on the relationship between aid and democratization from a research’ and donors’ perspective. The study finds that researchers’ theories on general aid focus on strategic interests of aid actors, while those on democracy aid focus on citizens’ empowerment. The research reveals that autocracies can respond to aid conditionality by window-dressing and that aid programs can legitimize the regime. Donors stress the following aspects in theories of change: political inclusion, the components of a democratic political system, and governance, while focusing on gender equality. This report recommends Sida should consider the impact of other types of foreign aid on democratization, recipients’ strategic interests, and the risks of co-optation and obstruction, especially with non-democratic governments. Since the impact of aid is limited to increasing democracy levels and does not seem to affect democratic regime change, donors’ expectations on how their efforts to promote political participation in non-democratic regimes may lead to political change through citizen empowerment may be too optimistic.
Published on the website: 2021-08-05
Publication type: Sida Evaluation
Author: Agnes Cornell