The Taming of Democracy Assistance: Why Democracy Promotion Does Not Confront Dictators

Few government programs that aid democracy abroad today seek to foster regime change. Technical programs that do not confront dictators are more common than the aid to dissidents and political parties that once dominated the field. What explains this ‘taming’ of democracy assistance? This book offers the first analysis of that puzzle. In contrast to previous research on democracy aid, it focuses on the survival instincts of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that design and implement democracy assistance. To survive, Sarah Bush argues that NGOs seek out tamer types of aid, especially as they become more professional. Diverse evidence - including three decades of new project-level data, case studies of democracy assistance in Jordan and Tunisia, and primary documents gathered from NGO archives - supports the argument. This book provides new understanding of foreign influence and moral actors in world politics, with policy implications for democracy in the Middle East.

  • The first examination of the ‘taming’ of democracy assistance, showing the significance of donor interests and NGOs for how democracy assistance works on the ground
  • Features in-depth case studies of foreign assistance in Jordan and Tunisia, allowing readers to understand the dynamics of democracy promotion in the Middle East after the uprisings of 2011
  • One of the few examinations of democracy assistance that uses a mixed-methods empirical approach - the combination of qualitative description that draws on field work and archival research, and statistical analysis generates new insight into the topic

This publication can be found on the Cambridge University Press website.