Foreign Aid & Global Norms?

Foreign aid has been portrayed as a selfish tool of donor state foreign policy equally as it has been viewed as a humanitarian means of combating poverty or a neoliberal effort to control the developing world.

Researchers have paid less attention to the role aid plays in promoting globalization. Building on the World Society theory of globalization popular among sociologists, this project examines how the flow of foreign aid and other forms of development finance from North to South contributes to the spread of common policies, institutions, and norms within developing societies.

Understanding aid as a transnational mechanism of globalization promoting common policies and institutions requires that the project explore the following interrelated research questions:

  1. How is foreign aid linked to the adoption and enforcement of global norms and institutional models in the developing world?
  2. What role do foreign aid funds play in resourcing the expansion of the international networks or organizations that compose World Society?
  3. How do various forms of aid and development finance function differently when it comes to promoting institutional isomorphism?
  4. How has foreign aid’s relationship to the expansion of world society changed over time?

The Developing Conformity project will examine these and other questions to better explain foreign aid’s role in the global diffusion of norms.