The Defense Lobby and Aid to Egypt

A forthcoming article (non-gated version here) by Lars Berger shows that contributions from defense interests correlate strongly and significantly with the willingness of Congressmen to defeat attempts to reduce military aid to Egypt during the Mubarak era. Here is the abstract:

In February 2011, the dramatic ouster of Hosni Mubarak threw into the spotlight the U.S. policy of granting generous and unconditional aid to the Egyptian regime at a time when the strategic rationale for such aid had become less obvious and calls for inserting human rights considerations into foreign aid allocations more prominent. Focusing on an unprecedented set of roll call votes taken in the U.S. House of Representatives during the years 2004 to 2007, this article offers the first quantitative assessment of the determinants of Congressional support for U.S. economic and military aid for Egypt. It challenges conventional wisdom on the limited role of campaign contributions in Congressional decision making by highlighting the central role of defense lobby contributions in maintaining the Congressional coalition that shielded Egypt’s prerevolutionary regime from increased U.S. pressure in the years leading up to its eventual demise.

This is a very interesting paper, looking at votes to reallocate some of Egyptian military aid to economic aid or causes such as fighting malaria. All proposals had strong within party divisions and they were all defeated.

h/t Kevin Lewis

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

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Erik Voeten

Erik Voeten is the Peter F. Krogh associate professor of geopolitics and global justice at Georgetown University.