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Aid Dependence in Cambodia

How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy

Aid Dependence in Cambodia by Sophal Ear
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International intervention liberated Cambodia from pariah state status in the early 1990s and laid the foundations for more peaceful, representative rule. Yet the country’s social indicators and the integrity of its political institutions declined precipitously within a few short years, and inequality grew dramatically. Conducting an unflinching investigation into the case of Cambodia, Sophal Ear uncovers the pernicious effects of aid dependence and its perversion of democracy.

International intervention and foreign aid resulted in higher infant and child mortality rates in Cambodia in the 1990s and unprecedented corruption by the mid-2000s. Similarly, in example after example, Ear finds that the more aid dependent the country, the more distorted its incentives to develop sustainably. Contrasting Cambodia’s twin economic engines, tourism and clothing, with its livestock sector and internal handling of the avian flu epidemic, he showcases the international community’s role in preventing Cambodia from owning its national development. A postconflict state unable to refuse aid, Cambodia is rife with trial-and-error donor experiments and their unintended consequences, such as bad governance and poor domestic and tax revenue performance—a major factor curbing sustainable, nationally owned growth. By outlining the terms through which countries can achieve better ownership of their development, Ear offers a way forward for governments on the brink of collapse, despite ongoing dependence on foreign intervention and aid.
Columbia University Press; October 2012
240 pages; ISBN 9780231530927
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Title: Aid Dependence in Cambodia
Author: Sophal Ear
  • News
Cambodian opposition presses on amid growing clampdown - Deutsche Welle
Mon, 18 Jul 2016 05:13:34 -0700
Deutsche WelleCambodian opposition presses on amid growing clampdownDeutsche WellePolitical scientist Sophal Ear, author of Aid ...
Cambodian scholar suggests pernicious effects of aid dependence - Asian Correspondent
Fri, 12 Oct 2012 18:49:12 -0700
Asian CorrespondentCambodian scholar suggests pernicious effects of aid dependenceAsian CorrespondentFor political economist ...
The Dark Side of Foreign Aid - the Diplomat
Tue, 05 Nov 2013 00:46:16 -0800
the DiplomatThe Dark Side of Foreign Aidthe DiplomatSophal Ear, an assistant professor of national security affairs at the U.S. ...