Replication Data Foreign Aid, Foreign Policy, and Government Legitimacy: Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh



Foreign aid donors try to make themselves visible as the funders of development projects in order to improve citizen attitudes abroad. Do target populations receive these political communications in the intended fashion, and does the information succeed in changing attitudes? Despite the widespread use of various mechanisms to communicate information about foreign funding flows, there exists little evidence about their effectiveness. We embed an informational experiment about a U.S.-funded health project in a nationwide survey in Bangladesh. Although we find only limited recognition of the USAID brand, explicit information about U.S. funding slightly improves general perceptions of the United States; it does not, however, change respondent’s opinions on substantive foreign policy issues. We also find, contrary to existing arguments that foreign aid undermines domestic government legitimacy, that the information increases confidence in local authorities. While our results suggest that information about foreign donors can effect attitudinal change, they also suggest that current mechanisms for information transmission might not be sufficient to do so.
Date made availableFeb 7 2017
PublisherHarvard Dataverse


  • foreign aid
  • foreign aid effectiveness
  • government legitimacy
  • foreign policy

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