More democratic countries do more for developing countries

A new paper by  Jorg Faust at the German Development Institute looks at whether rich countries that have more accountable and democratic institutions have more development-oriented foreign policy:

… the results do support the main hypothesis presented here, namely that the level of democratic voice and accountability in OECD countries is one crucial factor explaining the variance of the overall quality of development promotion in those countries.  Beyond, these finding also suggest that  a rising level of democratic voice and accountability increases the overall coherency of these countries' foreign policies with regard to development promotion. … Rich countries with stronger democratic institutions produce foreign policies which are at the same time more compatible with the concompassing interests of the rich countries' society while at the same time more adequate to promote development in poorer countires.  

This is an important finding.  It is consitent with the view that policies pursued by rich countries which damage development – such as restrictions on trade, limits on migration, constraints on technology transfer, corruption or arms sales – reflect the power in those countries of special interest groups to protect and promote their causes at the expense of economic development in poor countries.   As the rich countries become more democratic and accountable, so the voice of our collective interests in global peace and security and in global equity are more overcome those interest groups.

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