SPIRe Seminar Week 7: “Can’t Buy Me Love? New Evidence on Vote Buying in the United Nations General Assembly.”

SPIRe’s Dr. Samuel Brazys and Dr. Adrian O’Hagan of UCD Statistics will be presenting their paper (along with Prof. Diana Panke of the University of Freiburg) titled “Can’t Buy Me Love? New Evidence on Vote Buying in the United Nations General Assembly” Thursday November 1st from 13:00-14:00 in G317 Newman (Arts) Building, UCD Belfield.

“The notion that powerful states influence the votes of their weaker counterparts in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was first advanced over 40 years ago.  The most common line of reasoning is that powerful states make strategic use of foreign aid to “buy” votes – using aid either as an inducement or a threat.  However, despite the decades of intervening research, there is little consensus on if, when, or how such a practice occurs.  This paper sheds new light on the question in three ways.  First we look at UNGA voting behavior between aid-recipient countries and their respective primary donors in any given year.  Second, we code and track individual resolutions across time in order to evidence any shifts in recipient country voting patterns in response to changes in developmental aid payments.  Finally, we conduct interviews with diplomats from selected donors and recipients in order to seek a further understanding of the mechanisms by which vote buying may occur.  Our findings suggest that while explicit aid-for-vote exchanges appear to be uncommon, there may be a considerable “friendship” dividend wherein aid recipients align themselves with major donors over time.”


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