Chinaâ€™s rise is ushering in a new era of geostrategic contestation involving foreign aid. In many traditional OECD donors, aid policy is changing as a result. We report on a survey experiment studying the impacts of rising Chinese aid on public opinion in traditional donors. We randomly treated people with vignettes emphasising Chinaâ€™s rise as an aid donor in the Pacific, a region of substantial geostrategic competition. We used a large, nationally-representative sample of Australians (Australia is the largest donor to the Pacific). As expected, treating participants reduced hostility to aid and increased support for more aid focused on the Pacific. Counter to expectations, however, treatment reduced support for using aid to advance Australian interests. These findings were largely replicated in a separate experiment in New Zealand. Knowledge of Chinese competition changes support for aid, but it does not increase support for using aid as a tool of geostrategy.
|Journal of Experimental Political Science
|Published - 2020