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    How Much Is a Seat on the Security Council Worth?

    [Journal of Political Economy, 2006, vol. 114, no. 5]
    © 2006 by The University of Chicago.
    All rights reserved.0022-3808/2006/11405-0003$10.00


    HowMuch Is a Seat on theSecurity Council Worth? Foreign Aidand Bribery at the UnitedNations

    Ilyana Kuziemko and
    Eric Werker
    Harvard University

    Ten of the 15 seats on the U.N. Security Council are held by rotating members serving two-year terms. We find that a country's U.S. aid increases by 59 percent and its U.N. aid by 8 percent when it rotates onto the council. This effect increases during years in which key diplomatic events take place (when members' votes should be especially valuable), and the timing of the effect closely tracks a country's election to, and exit from, the council. Finally, the U.N. results appear to be driven by UNICEF, an organization over which the United States has historically exerted great control.



     


         We would like to thank Alberto Alesina, Marvin Danielson, Martin Feldstein, Edward Glaeser, Michael Hiscox, Lakshmi Iyer, Ian Johnstone, Larry Katz, Michael Kremer, Steve Levitt, Sendhil Mullainathan, Shanna Rose, Bruce Russett, Jesse Shapiro, Ken Shepsle, James Sutterlin, two anonymous referees, and seminar participants at Chicago Graduate School of Business, George Mason, Harvard Business School, Harvard Economics, Michigan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,the National Bureau of Economic Research, Oxford, the University of Toronto, Washington University, and Yale for valuable comments and advice. Ilyana and Eric would like to acknowledge financial support from the National Science Foundation and the National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Group on the Economics of National Security, respectively.

    I.      Introduction

         Since its inception in 1945, the United Nations has entrusted questions of global peacemaking to the Security Council. Given the council's power to authorize multilateral sanctions and military action, its members have played a role in some of the most significant world events of the past 60years, from the Korean War to the recent Gulf Wars. Though critics often argue that the Security Council lacks relevance or resolve, membership on the council remains a coveted prize among U.N. member states. While five of the council's 15 seats are held by permanent members, the remaining 10 are reserved for countries serving two-year terms, and the competition for these rotating seats can be intense (Malone 2000).

         Thedesire to participate more meaningfully in world affairs might motivate countries to fight for a spot on the Security Council. It is also possible, however, that rotating members are able to extract rents during their time on the council. Thus rotating members could trade their votes for political or financial favors during the two years in which they enjoy a boost to their diplomaticimportance. Indeed, the United States reportedly issued "promises of rich rewards" to rotating members in exchange for their support during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq (Renfrew 2003). While the Security Council would seem to present a natural setting to study issues of bribery and deal making, economists have largely ignored the question of whether council membership is related to foreign aid payments. This omission is especially surprising given the advantages of the discontinuous nature of rotating membership for empirical identification.

         That there might exist a link between membership on the Security Council and foreign aid is a serious charge. As article 24 of the U.N. Charter states, member nations "confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf." Since the Security Council is entrusted to act on behalf of all members of the United Nations, council members are expected to advocate for the global good, not to extract rents in order to line their own coffers.

         In this paper, we investigate whether the pattern of aid payments to rotating members of the council is consistentwith vote buying. There are at least three reasons why we might observe a connection between foreign aid and council membership. First, as the discussion above suggests, council members may be trading their votes for cash. Second, and less nefarious, there is the possibility that membership on the Security Council simply enables a country to bring its needs to the attention of the world community. If the economic needs of developing nations gain salience when they serve as rotating members, then aid and Security Council tenure could be positively correlated even in the absence of vote trading. Third, a correlation between Security Council membership and aid might be driven by an omittedvariable: a country's becoming more integrated in the world community might increase both its probability of serving on the Security Council and its annual aid receipts. Testing for a correlation between council membership and foreign aid, and differentiating among these three hypotheses, will be the focus of the empirical work in this paper.

         Using country-level panel data, we find a large positive effect of Security Council membership on foreign aid receipts. On average, a nonpermanent member of the council enjoys a59 percent increase in total aid from the United States and an 8 percent increase in total development aid fromthe United Nations. Further results lend strong support to the bribery hypothesis over the two alternative hypotheses mentioned above. First, we find that aid to Security Council members is significantly larger during key diplomatic years—that is, years in which the United Nations receives an especially large amount of media coverage, or in which a major international event occurs. The variation used to identify this effect is plausibly exogenous; it is driven by the fact that some countries serve on the Security Council during relatively calm years whereas others, by chance, are fortunate enough to serve during a year in which a key resolution is debated and their vote becomes more valuable.

         Second, aid payments sharply increase in the year in which a country is elected to the Security Council, remain high throughout the two-year term, and return to their earlier level almost immediately upon completion of the term. Thesharp increase challenges the notion that the correlationis being driven by an unobserved, secular change in a country's international influence or diplomatic savoir faire. Similarly, the rapid return to baseline aid levels after a country has completed its tenure suggests that the aidis not due to a newfound awareness of the country's needs. Instead, the discontinuous pattern of aid suggests that Security Council countries experience a windfall of aid only during the period in which they enjoy increasedinfluence in the United Nations.

         We also examine the politics of aid decisions within the U.N. bureaucracy. While Security Council members have increased access to politically salient information, they have no greater access to the U.N. agencies that disburse development aid. Thus the connection we find between council membership and aid receipts might imply that council members are willing to trade their vote for favors: they promote another country's interests in the Security Council in exchange for development aid from aU.N. agency over which the other country has influence. By decomposing U.N. development aid into its agency-level components, we find that the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)—an agency long controlled by the United States—seemsto drive the Security Council effect. Accordingly, our results suggest that the United States attempts to influence rotating members both with direct foreign aid payments and with funds channeled through a U.N. agency it influences.

         The results of this paper are consistent with previous empirical studies that demonstrate a political component to the allocation of foreign aid. Alesina and Dollar (2000) find that political andstrategic variables explain a large share of the direction of foreign aid flows. Meernik, Krueger, and Poe (1998) contend that security issues were more important for U.S. aid allocation during the Cold War than following it and that democracy promotion has since risen in prominence as a determinantof aid. Previous studies on foreign aid and voting in the U.N. General Assembly find mixed results and do little to identify the direction of causality (Wittkopf 1973; Rai 1980; Kegley and Hook 1991; Wang 1999).

         Ourresults are also pertinent to two contentious debates currently taking place among a wider audience. The first is the long-standing debate about the effectiveness of foreign aid (see, e.g., Easterly 2001), a debate reignited by the recent push for the Group of Eight nations to increase foreign aid by $50 billion (BBC 2005). As our results indicate that strategic interests have a causal impact on foreign aid decisions, they suggest a possible explanation for the disappointing track record of aid: as donor countries use aid strategically, they do not prioritize humanitarian concerns when crafting aid packages. Therefore, the weak historical relationships between aid and poverty alleviation may not suggest that more targeted, development-oriented aid will similarly fail in the future.

         Second,our paper contributes to the debate over U.N. reform. The oil-for-food scandal (Heaton 2006; Hsieh and Moretti 2006) and the refusal of the Security Council to authorize the 2003 invasion of Iraqhave been used by critics to demonstrate the organization's corruptibility, on the one hand, or irrelevance, on the other. Additionally, calls have been made to drastically change the structure of the Security Council. Our results suggest the potential need for an additional set of reforms, namely, measures that would help insulate the rotating members from the financial influence of the greater powers.

         The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. In Section II we relate this paper to the literature on U.S. congressional committees, noting that because of the highly discontinuous nature of Security Council membership, the U.N. setting provides econometrically cleaner tests of the hypothesis that committee membership confers tangible benefits. In Section III we describe the data and our empirical strategy. In Section IV we report the results ofthe impact of Security Council membership on foreign aid receipts, specifically U.S.and U.N. aid. Section V offers concluding remarks.

    II.      The Political Economy of the U.N. Security Council

    Structure of the Security Council

         The U.N. Security Council is the primary organ of the United Nations responsible for the maintenance of peace and security. Among all U.N. organs, the Security Council is the only one with the authority to make decisions thatbind all member states of the United Nations and, to some extent, nonmembers as well (Bailey and Daws 1998, 4). Among the powers ofthe Security Council are the abilities to invoke sanctions, apply military action, and recommend the appointment of the U.N. secretary-general.

         Thecouncil is made up of five permanent members, or the P5— China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—as well as 10 nonpermanent members. Nine votes cast in favor of aresolution are required for a resolution to pass (including the concurring votes of the P5 in substantive matters), and each of the P5 has the power to veto a resolution (art. 27 of the U.N. Charter).

         Serviceon the council is by no means random. A Security Council member must first be nominated by its regional caucusand then approved by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly. Each year, five nonpermanent members join the Security Council and five members leave; retiring members are not eligible for immediate reelection (art. 23(2)). The elections occur approximately three months before the term starts on January 1, though countries may make their candidacy known well beforehand. Five of the 10nonpermanent members are typically from Africa and Asia, one is from eastern Europe, two are from Latin America and theCaribbean, and two are from western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand(Malone 2000). According to the U.N. Charter, theGeneral Assembly is instructed to pay "due regard ... to the contribution of Members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization" (art. 23(1)). In practice, this has meant that regional powerssuch as Japan and Brazil tend to servemore frequently than less influential states such as Laos or Paraguay. Each regional caucus can devise its own procedure for deciding which nation(s) to nominate but is still constrained to choose nations that will ultimately gain the two-thirds approval required in the General Assembly. Appendix table A1 lists the number of years thatcountries in our data set have served on the Security Council.

         There is extensive competition and jostling for the nonpermanent seats, with some countries mounting expensive campaigns to get elected to the council (Malone 2000). The observed campaigning suggests that these countries might expect a net reward during their tenure.

         However, there are several reasons to doubt that countries systematically get more aid while on the council. First, countries that campaign for election to the council may seek the nonfinancial benefits of council membership, such as access to information or sway over international affairs. Moreover, the president of the council—a title that rotates among the members—has some control over theagenda and the order of voting over amendments on the table (Bailey and Daws 1998, 130–31). Second, if sticks insteadof carrots were used to influence nonmember votes, then countries serving on the council might worry that their foreign aid will fall if they do not vote as they are told. Indeed, Yemen saw its U.S. aid cut when it refused to vote in favor of the council'sauthorization of the use of force against Iraq in 1991. Third, it has been suggested that because nonpermanent members of the council do not have veto power, they may not be worth bribing at all. O'Neill(1996) applies the Shapley-Shubik index—which measures the percentage of total power attributed to a member on the basis of voting rules—to the Security Council. He finds that each of the five permanent members has 19.6 percent of the power, whereas each of the 10nonpermanent members has less than 0.2 percent. Finally, O'Neill's critique notwithstanding, a strict realist interpretation of international organizations would argue that the Security Council merely reflects the balance of power in the international system and does not have any independent impact on world affairs.

    Committee Membership and Political Spoils

         Thepotential connection between Security Council membership and foreign aid parallels existing work on congressional committee membership and geographically targeted federal spending. A large literature in political science investigates whether representatives who sit on powerful committees or subcommittees are able to "bring home the bacon," which appears to improve the incumbent's chance of reelection (Levitt and Snyder 1997). In perhaps the classic work in this field, Ferejohn (1974) finds that members of public works committees get more new projects for theirconstituencies than nonmembers do and that this effect is even stronger for appropriations subcommittee members and committee chairs. This committee member effect has also been found for military spending in states and districts that are represented on defense committees (Ray 1981; Rundquist, Lee, and Rhee 1996; Carsey and Rundquist 1999; Rundquist and Carsey 2002). Given that legislators can extract constituency benefits from committee service, it follows that there should be competition for service on the most lucrative committees. Indeed, this appears to be the case. Groseclose and Stewart (1998) and Stewart and Groseclose (1999) provide estimates of the most valuable committees and find that positions on the House Ways and Means and Appropriations committees and the Senate Finance and Appropriations committees were the most coveted.

         Surprisingly, there have been no studies posing similar questions in the international arena. The U.N. Security Council is arguably the world's most prominent international committee. Unlike appropriations committees, the Security Council does not distribute funds per se. Thus, if countries were to receive extra funds from the United Nations, it could bethrough logrolling. If donor countries were to disburse extra bilateral aid, it could be with the intention to buy support to form winning or blocking coalitions. Both ofthese practices have also been modeled by congressional scholars and appear to be important parts of legislative activity (Riker 1962; Shepsle 1974; Stratmann 1992; Groseclose and Snyder 1996). Nonetheless, it should be more difficult to find evidence of committee influencethrough an indirect channel (logrolling and vote buying) than through a direct channel (appropriations).

         Perhaps the largest challenge in the empirical literature on congressional committee influence is determining the direction of causality (Ray 1981). After all, it may not be themembership on the defense committee that generates the allocation of district-level military spending, but rather the fact that congressmen who represent districts with defense spending are more likely to seek assignment to defense committees (Rundquist et al. 1997).

         Several features of the Security Council offer advantages in estimating the relationship between membership and financial gain. Unlike members of Congress, members of the Security Council cannot serve successive terms. Thus, even if admission to the council is not exogenous, exit from thecouncil is. Moreover, given that serving on the council is a relatively rare event, we can track the changes inaid as they correspond to election to, and service on, the Security Council to determine the direction of causality. Certainly, it is possible for governments to adjust their aid on short notice in order to influenceother countries. The U.S.government has funds that can be allocated at the discretion of the administration (even if many of them are earmarked for a specific developmental purpose, such as child health) (see, e.g., U.S. Congress 2001). Moreover, Congress can stipulate in its annual recommendation that certain countries receive a minimum amount of aid and that such amounts bedistributed within 30 days of the act's passage.

         Anotherfeature of the Security Council that benefits this inquiry is that the value of serving on the council fluctuates from year to year. The Security Council has been relatively more prominent in years of importance to the international community, such as the period leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, than in years in which the order of business does not go beyondposturing about Western Sahara or Myanmar. The value of a vote on the council should fluctuate with the importance of the Security Council in world affairs. Thus, thougha country's propensity to serve on the council is by no means random, world events during its tenure are largely a product of chance.

         Itis these discontinuities—in the duration of service and the importance of the council in world affairs—that we will exploit in order to measure the value of serving as a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

    III.      Data and Specifications

    Data

         Weconstruct two panel data sets to test our hypotheses. In both cases, we limit our analysis to developing countries (those not classified as high-income countries by the World Bank in 2003) that were members of the United Nations but not part of the P5 (i.e., we exclude China). The first data set contains U.S. foreign aid data from 1946 to 2001, from the "Greenbook," the U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants database compiled by the U.S. Agency for International Development. From the Greenbook, we sum two variables, total economic assistance loans and grants and total military assistance loans and grants, and convert the flows to constant dollars using the urban consumer price index to reflect the price to the United Statesof administering the aid. Only positive values of aid are reported; we assign a value of zero to nonreported flows.1 Of the country-years in our sample, over three-fourths received economic aid, and nearly one-half received military aid.

         In this data set, we use two primary political controls. The first, representing "outlier" political activity, captures whether a war with at least 1,000 battle deaths was occurring in the recipient country; these data come fromthe Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University and the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (Gleditsch et al. 2002). Less than one-tenth of the country-years in our sample were characterized by such conflict. The second control, which captures ideological swings in a country, is the Polity 2 dictatorship/democracy score from the Polity IV data set (Marshall and Jaggers 2002). A score of 10 reflects a perfect democracy and a score of -10 reflects a perfect autocracy. The average score in our data set is -1.93, indicating a country that is more autocratic than democratic. Both of these controls extend back to 1946,although they are not available for all countries. Unfortunately, few other useful control variables go back to 1946. The economic control, the log of real gross domestic productper capita using the Laspeyres weighting, is taken from the Penn World Tables and begins in 1950 for a subsetof the countries.

         The second data set contains flows of Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the United Nations, compiled by theOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development beginning in 1960. To generate our variable of interest, we sum ODA over all U.N. agencies and convert this figure to constant dollars using the ratio of the recipient country's real GDP to nominal GDP. Over 96 percent of the country-years in our sample received U.N.aid. Fortunately, better economic control variables are available from 1960 onward. We include the same politicalcontrols as above and add the log of real per capita GDP from the World Development Indicators. Table 1 details the means and variances of the data.

    TABLE 1     Data, Means, and Variances

         Importantly, U.S. aid data represent authorizations and obligations, whereas U.N. data capture actual aid disbursed. Thus our measure of U.S.aid should more closely track contemporaneous intent, whereasmeasured U.N. aid may lag intent by a period.


         1 We set zero andnegative aid flows to $1 for the log specification. Appendix table A2, discussed later, shows that the results are robust to several different treatments of the zero aid flow observations.

    Empirical Strategy

         A positive association between foreign aid and council memberships would hardly be conclusive evidence of the vote-for-aid deals that we have hypothesized. Any omitted variable at the country level associated with both a country's propensity to serve on the council and its ability toextract aid from donor nations would lead to biased coefficients, almost certainly in the positive direction. Thus our basic empirical strategy is to look within countries across time and measure how their aid receipts changed asa function of their Security Council status. This estimation can be captured by the following equation, using a logarithmic specification following Alesina and Dollar (2000):



    where i indexes countries, r indexes regions, tindexes years, SCMember is a dummy variable coded as one if country i is serving on the Security Council in year t, X is a vector of time-varying political and economic controls for each country, W is a regional quartic time trend,
    2 &b.eta;is a vector of year fixed effects, and &b.mu;is a vector of country fixed effects. In the results that follow, we set Aid toequal either U.S. foreign aid or U.N. development aid.

         Changes in the average level of foreign aid across time will beabsorbed by the year fixed effects. Moreover, any omitted variable that affects a country's average aid level will be absorbed by the country fixed effects. However, if acountry's propensity to serve on the Security Council changed during the time covered in our data and this change wascorrelated in some way with its pattern of aid receipts, then an ordinary least squares estimate of βwould be biased. We address thisconcern in two ways. First, we interact the SCMember variables with a measure of how important that year happened to be in the Security Council. As discussed inSection II, assignment to the Security Council is not strictly random, but world events during a country's tenure are essentially exogenous. As countries typically begin their campaigns for Security Council membership years before they actually serve, it would be nearly impossible for countries to "time" their campaigns to correspond with world events that might make their tenure especially lucrative. (For example, Cameroon and Angola surely had no way of knowing that they would serve during the Bush administration's push for Gulf War II.) This estimation is specified by the following equation:



    ImportantYeart is proxied by the total numberof New York Times articles in year t with thewords "United Nations" and "Security Council" in the article, searched through the ProQuest historical database. A graph of the New York Times variable since 1946 is provided in
    figure 1. For our main specification, werank the years according to their citation frequency and then separate them into three categories: years with high, medium, and low importance. We also experiment with other definitions of a year's importance as robustness checks.


    (53 kB)

    FIG. 1.—The New York Times variable

         If the effect on aid of being on the Security Council ispurely driven by countries exerting their influence in ways that are correlated with both gaining a seat on the council and procuring more aid, rather than a true treatment effect captured by the interaction term, then we should see estimates of β2 statistically indistinguishable from zero. If, instead, the effect on aid is being driven bythe interaction term, then we can conclude that the Security Council effect on aid is likely causal and not driven by omitted variables.

         One final check we perform is to examine the pattern of aid receipts not only during a country's membership on the Security Council but also during the years immediately before and after its tenure. We refer to this estimation as the "event-time specification," and it is described by the following equation:



    where T - 1 is a dummy variable indicating the year before a country is elected to the Security Council(and two years before its term actually starts), T0 corresponds to the year of election, T1 and T2 correspond to the two years of service on the council,and T3 and T4 correspond to the two years immediately following the two-year term.

         This specification allows us to address the concern that unobserved country-specific trends in both a country's ability to extract aid and its probability of serving on the council are driving the positive association between council membership and aid. In the year before a country's election, any significant increase in aid would undermine the hypothesis that council membership itself is driving the results. Similarly, aid levels remaining high in the years following council service might suggest that rotating countries had permanently raised awareness of their needs, and not that they had used their temporary power to extract bribes. If β0, β1, and β2 were much larger than the other coefficients (or β1, β2, and β3 for U.N. aid due to its measuring disbursement rather than authorization), however, thestriking correlation between aid levels and the exact years during which rotating members had elevated influence would render this alternative story less credible.


         2 The regions are Europe and Central Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and other. We include a linear timetrend for Egypt, recognizing the dramatic increases in aid to Egypt following the Camp David Accord; Israel is not part of the data set since it was a high-income country in 2003. Recognizing that Egypt should be treated as a special case in foreign aid estimations is consistent with major recent papers (Alesina and Dollar 2000; Burnside and Dollar 2000). In App. table A2 we will test our main results using region-year dummies.

    IV.      Estimating the Value of a Seat

    U.S. Foreign Aid

         Table 2 shows the estimation results for variations on equations (1), (2), and (3), using U.S. foreign aid as the dependent variable. In the specification in column 1, aid is regressed only on the SCMember dummy; as expected,the coefficient is implausibly high since it captures not only vote-buying aid but also the nonrandom selection of U.S. aid recipients to the council. Column 2 adds country and year fixed effects as well as regional trends; the results indicatethat council membership is associated with a 47 log point, or 59 percent, increase in U.S. aid. Columns 3 and4 make use of variation in the importance of council decisions from year to year. As mentioned above, we divide the years in the sample into three roughlyequal groups based on the number of New York Timesarticles containing the terms "United Nations" and "Security Council."3 Column 3 suggests that during those years in which the Security Council was least in the news, council members received essentially no additional U.S. aid relative to their baseline. During years in which the council received moderate press coverage, the reward to being on the council was positive but not significant.However, during the years in which the council's proceedings were most newsworthy, the increase in aid receipts to council members was positive and highly significant. The point estimate suggests that countries lucky enough to serve during these years enjoyed a nearly 170 percent increase in U.S. aid. Column 4 shows that the addition of political controls does not change the results. In column 5 we add the log of GDP per capita, which reduces the sampleby over one-quarter. Although this reduces the size of the coefficient on the most newsworthy years, it remains statistically significant.

    TABLE 2     Economic and Military Aid from the United States, 1946–2001
    Dependent Variable: ln(Total Aid and Loans from U.S., $1996)

         Wealso experiment with a different approach to identifying the effect of council membership: examining the variation in aid during as well as immediately before and after a country's two-year term. The point estimates, reported in column 6, suggest that in the year before a country is elected, aid is not any higher than the baseline level. The year of election and the two years of actual service exhibit the largest increases in aid, with the election year and second year highly statistically significant. Aid levels essentially return to preelection levels in the two years following council service. Furthermore, the difference in aid payments during the "treatment period" (the year of election and the two years ofservice on the council) and aid payments during the "control period" (the three years before and after the treatment period) is positive and statistically significant (details of this estimation and hypothesis test can be found in the note to table 2). Thus the pattern of aid over time suggests that aid increases are intimately tied to council election and membership.

         We next investigate whether the results in column 4 arerobust to using alternative measures of a year's diplomatic importance. The results and significance hold if we redefine an important year as one that corresponds to key events in the Security Council and international diplomacy more generally; these years are 1946 (first year of the United Nations), 1950 (Korean War), 1956 (Suez crisis), 1960 (U2 spy plane, Congo) 1962 (Cubanmissile crisis), 1967 and 1973 (Israeli-Arab wars), 1982 (Falklands, Lebanon), 1991 (Gulf War I), and 1999 (Kosovo). The signs, if not the significance levels, hold if we definean important year as a year in which an interstate military conflict involving more than three states and more than 1,000 deaths began.

         The results are also robust to a number of additional manipulations, as reported in columns 1–4 of Appendix table A2; these include (1) limiting the regression to positive aid values, (2) resetting the log of nonpositive aid from zero to 10,4 (3) including dummy variables for country-years with zero aid, and (4) substituting region-year dummies for the regional quartics. In other words, the log specification's inherent sensitivity to small changes in absolute magnitude that are close to zero does not appear to be driving the results. The results are also robust to alternative sample selection rules. In columns 1–4 of Appendix table A3, we find that the main results are robust to (1) dropping countries that never served on the Security Council between 1946 and 2004, (2) includinghigh-income countries, (3) excluding country-years with real GDP per capita greater than $10,000 in the particularyear of the observation rather than in 2003, and (4) dropping the year of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait andthe year of the resulting Gulf War (1990 and 1991, respectively).5


         3 Somewhat importantyears include 1953, 1957, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975–76, 1979, 1980, 1985, 1988, 1995–96, and 1999. Important years include 1946–52, 1954–56, 1958, 1960–61, 1964–65, 1968, 1982, 1990–94, and 1998.
         4 The smallest positive value of the log of aid is approximately 9.5, or$13,000.
         5 As a further robustness check, in an extension to an earlier versionof this paper, Tamura and Kunieda (2005) reach the same conclusions using different specifications.

    U.N. Results

         Table 3 shows results parallel to those intable 2, but with total U.N. development aid as the dependent variable. The coefficients of interest in table 3 follow a pattern similar to those in table 2 but are universally smaller in magnitude. For U.N. aid, the main effect of serving onthe council is weakly positive, but serving on the council during an important year predicts a sizable and statistically significant increase in aid of 42 log points, or 53 percent.

    TABLE 3     Aid from the United Nations, 1960–2001
    Dependent Variable: ln(Net ODA from U.N., $1995)

         The timing of U.N. aid is slightly different from that of U.S. aid, consistent with its measuring actual disbursement as opposed to authorization. U.N. aid does not increase as substantially during the year of election to the counciland does not fall back to baseline levels until the second year after council service has ended. As with U.S. aid, we find that the difference between U.N. aid payments during the treatment period and the control period is positive (though less statistically significant) and again consign details to the note of table 3.

         Most important, however, is that for both U.N. and U.S. aid, thereis no evidence of heightened aid in the year before election, there is a significant increase in aid during the second year of the term, and aid levels essentially return to preelection levels within two years of a country's exit from the council. That the coefficients of interest for the U.N. regressions are smaller makes intuitive sense: the United States can distribute foreign aidin accordance with its strategic interests without garneringthe formal support of other countries, whereas bureaucratshailing from multiple nations must cooperate to dispense U.N. aid.6

         Figure 2 provides a graphical representation of the results in the last columns of tables 2 and 3. The y-axis has been scaled such that aid in the year before a country's election to the council is normalized to $100. The most notable increase in aid comes during the second year of tenure. Though the return to baseline is somewhat slower for U.N. aid, both types of aid trend toward preelection levelswithin two years of a country's departure from the council.


    (26 kB)

    FIG. 2.—Aid to nonpermanent Security Council members in event time


         6 Somewhat important years include 1962–63, 1966–67, 1969, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1979–80, 1985, 1988, and 1995–96. Important years include 1960–61, 1964–65, 1968, 1971, 1982, 1990–94, and 1998–99. The U.N. results are robust to defining the importance ofthe year with the multinational conflict construction. Appendixtables A2 and A3 report the robustness checks on treatment of zeroes and sample selection.

    Components of U.N. Aid

         It is conceptually easy to imagine a causal mechanism underlying the U.S. aid results. When a matter of importance comes before theSecurity Council, Congress (or the president via the Congress) can authorize aid to a country in exchange for, or inencouragement of, its support for the U.S. position.

         Themechanism underlying the connection between council membership and U.N. aid is not so clear. The Security Council does not directly control the purse strings of any of thecommittees that distribute U.N. aid. Each of these committees has its own bureaucracy and leadership and is ostensibly independent of the council. Of course, in reality, politics may affect the aid process. For example, there is the possibility of logrolling. A nonmember could offera rotating member the following deal: put the nonmember's issue on the council agenda in exchange for an increase in aid from, say, the World Food Programme, over which the nonmember happens to have influence. An alternative but not necessarily competing hypothesis is that few U.N. members have even this behind-the-scenes power and that the U.N. budget is effectively controlled by the great powers.

         Inorder to explore the black box of U.N. development aid distribution, we decompose the U.N. aid variable into its components. The five U.N. agencies with the highest distributions are the World Food Programme (WFP), the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the U.N. Regular Programme of Technical Assistance (UNTA). It is noteworthy that among these agencies, the United States historically has had the largest influence over UNICEF. Every executive director of UNICEF since 1947 has been American, and some of UNICEF's policy actions are takenin consultation with the U.S. State Department (U.S. Department of State 2003). The extent of U.S. favoritism for UNICEF was revealed in a memorable manner in 1995 when then–Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms recommended "terminating or greatly reducing"funds for every U.N. organization except UNICEF (Bennis 1996, 71).

          U.S. leadership has also been important, though less so, in the UNDP. An American ran the agency every year until 2000, when MarkMalloch Brown of the United Kingdom, a Washingtonveteran, took over. The United States has often been the largest donor to the UNDP, though in percentage terms it donates much less than it does to UNICEF.

         Table 4 displays the results of regressing ODA from these five U.N. agencies on Security Council membership and controls using our preferred specification (from col. 4 of table 3). The agency displaying the strongest pattern is clearly UNICEF. Countries serving on the council during an unimportant year experience no notable increase in their UNICEF aid. During an important year, a developing country sitting on the Security Council can expect a 49 log point, or 63 percent, increase in its ODA from UNICEF. Aid from the UNDP follows a similar pattern, though the magnitudes are smaller and insignificant, whereas the remaining agencies display no apparent relationship between aid flows and council membership.

    TABLE 4     Aid from the United Nations by Agency, 1960–2001

         What do these results imply about the politics of U.N. aid disbursement? Since the Security Council effect is limited to UNICEF and, to a lesser extent, the UNDP, the findingsdo not seem to describe a setting in which many smaller players are trading influence for aid. Of course a more detailed analysis of agency leadership and votepatterns might uncover more subtle manifestations of logrolling. However, these results do provide positive support for the U.S. power hypothesis. As some of the funding for U.N. agencies is in the form of voluntary contributions earmarked by donors for specific projects, these findings should not be seen as evidence that the United States is abusing its leadership at U.N. agencies to spend other donors' monies in the U.S. national interest. Yet the findings are suggestive that the United States is using UNICEF, and possibly the UNDP, as a vehicle in the conduct of its foreign policy.

    V.      Conclusion

         Thusfar, we have argued that nonpermanent members of the U.N. Security Council receive extra foreign aid from the United Statesand the United Nations, especially during years in which the attention focused on the council is greatest. Our results suggest that council membership itself, and not simply some omitted variable, drives the aid increases. On average, the typical developing country serving on the council can anticipate an additional $16 million from the United States and $1 million from the United Nations. During important years, these numbers rise to $45 million from the United States and $8 million from the United Nations. Finally, the U.N.finding may actually be further evidence of U.S. influence: UNICEF, an organization over which the United States has historically had great control, seems to be driving the increase in U.N. aid.

         Ideally, a study of vote buying in the United Nations would test for the ability of Security Council aid to influence actual voting. Unfortunately, this is difficult for two reasons. First, we cannot observe the counterfactual: how the country would have voted in the absence of vote-buying activity. Second, votes themselves are strategic. Agenda setters typically know, before putting a resolution up for a vote, the preferences of each member. Perhaps this is whymost Security Council resolutions are passed unanimously andwhy failed resolutions are rare; recall that the 2003 resolution to authorize the invasion of Iraq never actually came to a vote. As a result of these identification problems, we believe that actual outlays of aid are the most trustworthy way to measure the presence of vote buyingin the Security Council. By providing extra aid to nonpermanent members of the council, especially during years in which council votes are especially important, agenda setters have implicitly revealed their faith in the Security Council's relevance in world affairs.

    Appendix

    TABLE A1     Who Serves on the Security Council

     

    TABLE A2     Robustness Checks on Treatment of Zeroes and Regional Trends

     

    TABLE A3     Robustness Checks on Sample Selection

    References

     

     

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