The objective of this research project is to understand the causes of donor behavior at the sub-national level during a peace process. Do donors respond to the ebbs and flows of a peace process or is their behavior motivated by other factors that are exogenous to events within the conflict-torn country? The literatures on international aid, peacebuilding, and peace processes have thus far failed to answer this question.
The project employs an innovative multi-method research design to answer these questions. It uses a nested case study approach, which allows us to compare the behavior of different types of donors (i.e., bilateral, multilateral, OECD and non-OECD, Regional Development Banks, etc.) in three relatively contemporaneous peace processes (i.e., Liberia, Nepal, and Sudan). The desk research phase will begin with an initial quantitative analysis using multinomial and ordered probit models to assess the responsiveness of aid donors to each case study’s peace processes relative to other external shocks, or alternative explanations, that could explain donor behavior. After this first cut at the data, the team will then apply qualitative and further quantitative methods (i.e., semi-structured interviews, archival document review, content analysis, and survey experiments) to uncover the causal pathways (i.e., process tracing) that may explain the correlations revealed in the initial quantitative analysis (deductive) and uncover causal explanations that may not have been addressed in these models (inductive).
The research team, made up of political scientists and economists, has a very strong background in international aid, conflict-affected countries, peace processes, sub-national comparative analyses, and rigorous quantitative and qualitative methods. The dissemination events and discussions that the team will hold with its project partners and contacts will ensure that the research findings are made available to help improve donor behavior in conflict-affected countries.