Matthew Sinclair argues in the Spectator's Coffee House that we can’t give money to countries that snub Britain at every turn.
One of the justifications for Britain’s large, and rapidly growing, international development budget is that it promotes our national interests. Politicians are wary of appealing to a public sceptical of the benefits of aid purely on the basis that it will help where it is spent. The idea is that by supporting poorer countries we increase their stability, and thereby create a safer world for British people as well.
But the evidence that foreign aid promotes political stability is weak. Harvard economist Nathan Nunn and Yale economist Nancy Qian found in a Working Paper published this January that ‘an increase in U.S. food aid increases the incidence, onset and duration of civil conflicts in recipient countries.’ They documented how and why that happens, with ‘aid stealing’ as ‘an important mechanism.’