Democracy aid is effective according to ‘large-N’ studies that seek patterns in a large number of cases. But ‘small-N’ investigations that consider a small number of cases in depth call such findings into question, according to researchers at the University of Gothenborg’s Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute:
This paper accounts for this contradiction and significantly improves our understanding of democracy aid effectiveness by disaggregating democracy aid into specific types and examining effectiveness in different regime types. We argue that a specific type of aid is more likely to be effective when the aid does not pose a threat to regime survival and when the aid matches the particular democratic deficits in a country. Analysis of OECD aid and Varieties of Democracy data for 119 countries from 2002-2012 supports our argument.