Money Makes the World Go Frowned - Analyzing the Impact of Chinese Foreign Aid on States’ Sentiment Using Natural Language Processing

Predicted values of Chinese foreign aid in post-civil war states on the average sentiment (with 90% confidence intervals, in Hammerschmidt/Meyer (2020))

Abstract

China is on the rise in global politics, especially due to its increasing influence in the African region. How does this affect other states that are investing in this region? We argue that China offers an attractive alternative to the highly conditional US aid because it enters the aid donor market with largely unconditional aid. We expect that the increasing independence from US foreign aid due to the China’s presence enables African states to become more critical of US foreign politics, and we expect these effects to be particularly strong for post-civil war states. We use natural language processing to automatically extract sentiments from states’ speeches at the United Nations General Debate and identify shifts in positive and negative sentiment of African states toward the US. Our results support our argument and show that countries increasingly move away from and criticize the US as China enters the market.

Publication
In Chinas Rolle in einer neuen Weltordnung Wissenschaft, Handel und internationale Beziehungen (edited by Dr. Johannes Klenk and Franziska Waschek)